The Theoretical Physics program groups theoretical areas that generally study systems that have relatively low interaction energies and a large number of particles. Theoretical physics has as core activity the understanding and formulation of models of physical phenomena, based on scientific paradigms in the areas of statistical physics and complex systems, classical physics and quantum physics, atomic and molecular physics, physics of fluids and plasmas, physics of condensed matter, mathematical physics and optics. It has increasingly become a fundamental activity for technological development and innovation. Experiments with great potential for technological application are, in general, based on physical models developed by researchers in these areas. For this reason, it is a research activity recognized by virtually all developed countries as a priority for the development of science. As a consequence, there are numerous institutions dedicated to the research in theoretical physics in the world.
In Brazil, theoretical physics has always played a relevant role. The arrival of important scientists such as Gleb Wataghin and Guido Beck among others in the first half of the 20th century contributed decisively to the formation of a generation of excellent Brazilian physicists. Due to the scarcity of research resources in Brazil until the 1970s, research in theoretical physics in this period brought together the majority of Brazilian physicists with international recognition, since the area requires less investment in large equipment.
The theoretical physicists Jaime Tyomno, José Leite Lopes and Francisco Mendes de Oliveira Castro were among the founders of CBPF, establishing, since its creation, an institutional tradition in the area and making it a place of circulation of theoretical physicists of international renown. In 1962, when CBPF began the first modern postgraduate course in physics in the country, the faculty was basically constituted by theoretical physicists.
The institution has always had theoretical physicists who are of national and international reference. Consequently, the research in theoretical physics has been developed with high scientific level in areas such as statistical physics, condensed matter, mathematical physics, quantum information and field theory. In general, the work in theoretical physics uses more and more intensive computational simulations, as an alternative to very complex theoretical calculations, requiring for this cluster of computers of increasing and high performance. Using analytical and computational methods, several important problems at the frontier of knowledge are at the focus of researchers in theoretical physics in the institution.
Over the next five years, CBPF's activities in theoretical physics will be expanded, with prospective actions, inducing solutions to fundamental problems and development of new areas of theoretical physics research in Brazil. CBPF should work increasingly as a center open to the national and international community for exchanges in the area. To this end, it will be employed the experience accumulated in recent years by the National Institute of Science and Technology of Complex Systems (INCT-SC), based at CBPF, which integrates activities of 36 researchers from 14 institutions in Brazil.
Programs in the area:
1-Scientific Production Program: To produce advanced research in Theoretical Physics, with significant international impact.
2-Scientific Exchange Program: To expand CBPF’s leadership in the country in the mentioned subject areas, promoting scientific exchange with Brazilian and foreign researchers. These exchanges may be linked to the Center for Advanced Studies, to be created, and will encourage researchers to come to CBPF for short visits (one to three months). We will also promote the participation of researchers in the field of theoretical physics of CBPF in missions to Brazilian universities, located outside the major national centers, to give short courses and participate in scientific collaborations.
3-Organization of Scientific Events and Meetings: To organize national and international conferences, workshops and meetings on forntier issues related to the main areas of research in Theoretical Physics. This activity may be associated with the Center for Advanced Studies to be created.