Ludwig Hoffmann

Ludwig Hoffman

PhD student
Soft Matter

I am interested in…

What are you working on?

I am mainly working on active liquid crystal models and apply them to biological systems, trying to better understand the dynamics of cells and tissues. The general idea is to model cells as liquid crystal particles (basically small rods) and allow each of these particles to move around and exert forces on their environment. This results in hydrodynamic equations that can be applied to and solved in different circumstances. For example to understand tissue growth, morphogenesis, structure formation in tissues, or cell apoptosis better.

What are you looking to get out of the DRSTP?

Apart from the regular schools it is a nice environment to get to know PhD students from other universities and learn what they are working on, to get inspiration for my own work or just to see what’s out there, especially in fields that are far away from my own.

What interests do you have apart from your research?

I do sports like skating or bouldering, read books (at the moment mainly centered around politics or political philosophy and art), go to museums and listen to many podcasts about similar topics.

Eleftheria Malami

Eleftheria Malami

PhD student and PhD council member
Particle Physics

I am interested in…

What are you working on?

I am a PhD student at the Theory Group of Nikhef, working with Robert Fleischer. I work on the field called flavour physics, which studies phenomena related to transitions between different elementary particle species, called “flavours”. Flavour physics played a central role in the development of the Standard Model of particle physics. Even though the Standard Model is a successful theory, there are still phenomena that it cannot explain, like the matter-antimatter asymmetry in the Universe. Thus, we go beyond the Standard Model and we search for possible hints of New Physics. A very promising tool is given by particles called B mesons. In our studies, we focus on benchmark B meson decay processes, which are sensitive to New Physics. We search for New Physics in an indirect way, working at the “high precision frontier”, performing calculations with the highest precision and confronting them with very precise measurements. Fortunately, we live in very exciting times where there is a plethora of experimental data. In these data sets, discrepancies are indicated between theoretical predictions and the measured values. Providing theoretical interpretation of these measurements, we aim to answer the question: are these really signals of New Physics?

What are you looking to get out of the DRSTP?

It is great to have an Institution like DRSTP, which can bring the whole Theoretical Physics community of the Netherlands together. Participating as a student to the DRSTP activities like the annual schools and the PhD days, it helps to build a strong network, meet your fellow colleagues, learn more about their topic and acquire a better understanding of your field. Being also a member of the PhD Student Council, I had the opportunity to receive direct feedback from our co-students and effectively communicate our needs to the Governing Board and our professors.

What interests do you have apart from your research?

Having also studied music, I enjoy playing the piano, singing opera or simply attending nice concerts and performances. In addition, I’m really into reading interesting books, dancing, hiking in nature, travelling and volunteering.

Pieter Gunnink

Pieter Gunnink

PhD student and Chairman PhD council
Quantum Matter

I am interested in…

What are you workin on?

I am working in the field of spintronics, which is the study of spins in condensed matter. The ultimate goal of spintronics is to find a way to use spins as information carriers, as opposed to conventional electronics (such as the smartphone in your pocket), where charge is the information carrier. Since transporting spins consumes much less energy, this would lower the overall energy consumption of our computers.
In my daily work I mainly focus on a better theoretical understanding of the ways spins behave in condensed matter systems. This is in part driven by experiment, where there are many exciting developments that allow new structures and applications. Since I am working mainly on theory, I am also free to explore novel ideas that are not directly related to experiments.

What are you looking to get out of the DRSTP?

To me DRSTP is a chance to be part of a community with other theoretical physicists in the Netherlands. As a theorist it can sometimes feel like it is just you sitting alone in an office, so it is nice to be able to connect to other physicists, even if they do not work in the exact same field. As chair of the PhD council it also offers an opportunity to be involved with the day-to-day running of the DRSTP, and to give feedback to further improve the DRSTP.

What interests do you have apart from your research?

I like to run and ride bikes, and especially recording as much data as possible while I do this. Mainly so I can play “experimental” physicist with myself as test subject, but I also just like being outside and enjoying the sunshine. I also like to bake pizzas and read books (sometimes also about pizza).