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Research Fellow in Coupled Quantum-Classical Dynamics

Department of Mathematics

Location:  Guildford
Salary:  £33,309 to £37,468
Post Type:  Full Time
Advert Placed:  Tuesday 07 September 2021
Closing Date:  Wednesday 06 October 2021
Interview Date:  To be confirmed
Reference:  055621

Applications are invited for the post of Research Fellow in the area of Coupled Quantum-Classical (QC) Dynamics based at the University of Surrey. The post is funded by the John Templeton Foundation and is part of a multidisciplinary research project entitled “Life on the Edge: quantum thermodynamics, quantum biology and the arrow of time”. As the programme team intend to advance our current understanding of the irreversibility of time, this general goal will be approached by following different directions. Specifically, the main objectives are to elucidate how irreversibility emerges in macroscopic systems from quantum mechanics, to investigate the quantum-classical divide, and to analyse the implications for living systems, along with their philosophical aspects. These objectives are organized in a series of parallel, complementary and interconnected themes led by different academics across a range of disciplines including theoretical physics, computational chemistry, applied mathematics, molecular biology, and philosophy. The successful candidate will undertake research in a vibrant, inter-disciplinary research environment with excellent reputation and collaborations, and will join a large team of physicists, mathematicians, biologists and philosophers, addressing fundamental questions regarding the quantum origin of the arrow of time, quantum thermodynamics, and quantum biology.

This Research Fellow will be working under the direction of Dr Cesare Tronci on the coupled dynamics of QC systems: at the basis of measurement theory, the interaction of classical and quantum degrees of freedom has attracted much attention in several other fields, including quantum chemistry and solid-state physics, due to the popularity of mixed QC methods in molecular dynamics. While several fundamental questions remain unanswered, the mathematics of Koopman wavefunctions in classical mechanics is opening new perspectives. Different levels of scientific capabilities will be engaged in this study: on the one hand, the Fellow will investigate the mathematical features of QC coupling in both reversible and irreversible regimes, on the other hand, they will perform numerical simulations to study decoherence dynamics and other effects of QC correlations. Benefiting from a collaboration with Prof Dorje Brody within the same working group, the study of QC correlations will also provide a link with the group working in quantum thermodynamics, led by Dr Andrea Rocco. Special attention will also be devoted to applications in molecular dynamics, thereby benefiting from interactions with the group working in computational quantum biology, led by Dr Marco Sacchi. The candidate will be a creative, highly motivated, and team-oriented researcher with excellent mathematical and numerical skills, a high-quality PhD in Applied Mathematics or Theoretical Physics, and a solid knowledge of Quantum Mechanics.

This position is for 2.5 years, starting at any point between 1 December 2021 and 1 March 2022. For an informal discussion about the role, please contact Dr Cesare Tronci via email at

In addition to salary, the successful candidatewill receive a generous annual leave entitlement and excellent development opportunities.  The University of Surrey offers benefits packages which include pension, childcare assistance and leisure facilities.

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Please note, it is University Policy to offer a starting salary equivalent to Level 3.6 (£32,344) to successful applicants who have been awarded, but are yet to receive, their PhD certificate.  Once the original PhD certificate has been submitted to the local HR Department, the salary will be increased to Level 4.1 (£33,309).

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