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School of Physics and Astronomy

Professor Kostya Trachenko


Professor of Physics | Director of Graduate Studies | Deputy Head of CCMMP

Telephone: 020 7882 6547
Room Number: G.O. Jones Building, Room 226


Research Interests:

Theoretical and computational condensed matter physics

My research interests mostly lie in theoretical and computational condensed matter physics:

  • fundamental theory of liquid and supercritical states of matter
  • glass transition
  • glasses
  • high pressure
  • radiation damage effects including in nuclear waste forms and fusion reactors
  • links between field theory and condensed matter physics/statistical physics
  • links between fundamental physical constants and system properties.

Here are representative publications in these areas.

This is discussed on my personal website in more detail.

I am a recipient of the EPSRC-CCP prize for "outstanding contributions to theory and modelling of condensed matter phases". Our work has been awarded the top 10 Physics Breakthroughs in 2020.


Highlights in news and media:

- Award of the top 10 Physics World Breakthroughs in 2020

- Upper bound on the speed of sound in the Economist, ("MaxMach" in the Economist print edition), Physics World, Science News, Sky News and Daily Mail
- Minimal quantum viscosity in Physics World and Cosmos Magazine
- Vacuum energy gets flexible - IoP news
- Slow bitumen flow in BBC Feature Article, New Scientist and Physics World. The video abstract is here.
- New understanding of supercritical state in Physics Today
- Phonon theory of liquid thermodynamics in Physics World
- IoP highlight story about the first glimpse into radiation damage processes inside a fusion reactor




After completing my PhD degree, I was awarded a Research Fellowship in Darwin College, Cambridge, and an EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship.

I have subsequently benefited from EPSRC funding and, more recently, from NERC funding.

My international collaborations are supported by the Royal Society.


Funding details are below:

July 2021 – Sep 2024, Prinicipal Investigator on the EPSRC grant “UK-India cooperation in nuclear energy”. Grant amount: £1.1 mln. This is a collaboration with Imperial, Cambridge, Liverpool and Manchester 

Jan 2020 – Jan 2024, Co-I on the NERC grant “Mechanisms and prediction of large-scale ecological responses to environmental change”. Grant amount: £1.2 mln

Aug 2018 – Aug 2020, Lead Investigator on the EPSRC impact enhancement grant. Grant amount: £46,000

Dec 2017 –Dec 2020, Lead Investigator on the EPSRC grant “Novel nuclear waste forms” awarded under the Nuclear Energy University Programme funded jointly by the US Department of Energy and EPSRC. This is a collaboration between the QMUL on the UK side and three major US research centres: University of California Davis, University of Tennessee and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. UK grant amount: £463,000.

2015-2016, Lead Investigator on Royal Society Grant for International Collaboration. Grant amount: £20,000

2014-2015, Queen Mary Trust Fund to re-develop Physics Museum, £6,000

Oct 2011- Oct 2013, Lead Investigator on the EPSRC grant (“Developing DL_POLY molecular dynamics tackle challenging problems in science and technology”, grant amount: £440,000

2010-2021, Secured funding (fees and scholarships) for PhD students. Funded by EPSRC, SEPnet, NDA, Myerscough Bequest and CSC

2010-2011 Lead Investigator on the ImpactQM teaching replacement award (£48,000). Lead Investigator on the EPSRC Pathways to Impact teaching replacement award (£22,500)

2005-2010 EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship, £250,000

2003 – 2021, Research Council grants for use of national supercomputers. Approximately £190,000-£30,000 pa. Awarded on competitive basis.

2011-current, Co-investigator on ISIS, ESRF and Diamond beam time proposals

2006, 2008, Royal Society Grant for international joint projects, appr. £5,000

1997, Cambridge Overseas Trust Scholarship, University of Cambridge. ORS Award, Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals, Cambridge.



This is not an exhaustive list and I would be happy to discuss other project possibilities.

Project Title
Radiation damage effects
New understanding of liquid and supercritical states of matter