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Physics and Chemistry of Solids

Experimental study of dynamic behaviour at short timescales
Photo of some PCS group members

Undergraduate Research Programme

We run a number of undergraduate projects each year, offering opportunities to get involved in the research that we conduct (as well as contributing towards the requirements of the Natural Sciences Tripos). From time to time long-vacation undergraduate research placements are also available. Please contact one of the members of staff for more information, or if you have an idea for a particular research project. The most up-to-date information can be found via the department's centralised project allocation processes, but a selection of potential Part II and Part III projects can be found here

Part III experimental projects

Each year we offer several experimental projects to Part III students. These are organised at the start of the academic year, with the bulk of research being performed during the Lent term (between Christmas and Easter). Projects are a mix of current research themes and novel related experiments.

Part II Literature reviews

Each year we offer a number of literature reviews to students in their third year of undergraduate study.  We aim to offer an exciting, eclectic mix of research projects, usually with at least a loose connection to our recent research interests.

Summer Placement Scheme

From time to time we are able to offer short placements to summer students; please contact a member of staff if you are interested.


Graduate Research Opportunities

There are a range of graduate research opportunities to study for PhD or MPhil degrees. Funding is usually provided by group research projects or research council scholarships (through the department), although other scholarship opportunities also exist (Gates, Churchill, Oppenheimer, etc.).

A list of potential research projects can be found here, and the Physics department's graduate admissions page has more information regarding admissions procedures.

Please email David Williamson or James Perry for more information.


Postdoctoral & Other Vacancies

Depending on funding, from time to time other opportunities may arise for non-student positions within the group. When these arise the details will be posted here. We are particularly keen to support independent researchers and fellowship applications - please get in touch with us to discuss how to put in applications. Alternatively, if you have a source of funding and would like to work with us, then do get in touch.

Please email David Williamson for more information.



We are a modestly sized, friendly, widely interdisciplinary yet highly collaborative research group. Each of us has a particular speciality, but we share interests and expertise - discussing ideas and lending a hand is central to our ethos.

We tend to follow reasonably standard office hours, and hold regular meetings, tea breaks and evening social events - the aim is to foster a productive collaborative environment while enabling everyone to work in the way which best works for them.

Our research often requires a broad understanding of science, and so students and staff tend to develop a working knowledge of quite a wide range of physics...chemistry...materials science....and occasionally even a little biology too!

As an industry-focused group, some of our research leads to real-world applications in a much shorter timescale than is usual for academia, and we aim to provide PhD students with the tools necessary to thrive whether they stay in academia or leave to work in industry after graduation. We have a high staff-to-student ratio, and can offer significant hands-on support for students.

Industrial funding doesn't mean you're just collecting data for your sponsor - Our partners continue to work with us decade after decade because we can help them understand the underlying physics of a problem (and often the problem itself is not well defined). In this vein, we take care to design PhD projects so that our industrial partners offer guidance and motivation, without significantly limiting freedom or flexibility to pursue interesting avenues of research.

We have an extensive suite of experimental apparatus, so research here tends to involve quite a wide range of exciting experiments - from from firing large gas guns at machines destined to land on distant planets, to measuring the thermal expansion of composites to picometer accuracy.