Dr Eva-Maria Graefe, Royal Society University Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer, Mathematics

I’m a mathematical (or sometimes not so mathematical) physicist in the Department of Mathematics, where I am a Royal Society Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer.

After obtaining my PhD in theoretical quantum physics at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern, Germany, and a brief postdoc position in the mathematical physics group at the University of Bristol, I joined Imperial as a Junior Research Fellow in 2010. Since then I have been supported by a number of research fellowships and have worked on building up my own research group.

I supervise a number of PhD and Master students and we work on various aspects of quantum dynamics, that is, the motion of tiny particles such as atoms or electrons. We are in particular interested in how this motion corresponds to the more familiar physical laws we observe in the macroscopic world. What interests us most in this context is the occurrence of chaos (a strong sensitivity of outcomes to initial conditions such as for example in the prediction of certain weather conditions or the drawing of lottery numbers) and the influence of losses, dissipation and damping, and the possibility to use these to engineer desired behaviour. Currently the group is supported by the Royal Society and a starting grant from the European Research Council.

I love quantum mechanics so much it plays a role in most things I do – no surprise I am also teaching quantum mechanics to our undergraduates and Master students, and occasionally try to enthuse high school students in outreach events.

I have two small daughters (1.5 and 4.5 years), and bringing up a young family while building up my group has at times been challenging. Nevertheless being a mother in science and a researcher at Imperial is a very rewarding experience.

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