The center for Theoretical Physics (CPHT) at Ecole Polytechnique gathers research scientists working in diverse domains of fundamental and applied Physics. The overall coherence is assured by the corpus of common, transposable, mathematical and numerical methods.

CPHT is on the campus of Ecole Polytechnique, buildings 5 and 6. The reception offices are located in "building 6" , offices 06.1046 and 06.1045.

How to visit us 

The CPHT is formally divided into six groups:


Ecole Polytechnique 
91128 Palaiseau cedex 

Secretary phone number : 01 69 33 42 01 (from abroad: +33 169 334 201)
Fax number : 01 69 33 49 49 (from abroad: +33 169 334 201)
Write an email to someone at CPHT :  :


Thursday 12th January 2017 at 11:00 AM
Ecole Polytechnique, Salle de conférence du CPhT, Bâtiment 06

Timothée Nicolas
SPC-EPFL, Lausanne, Suisse

MHD instabilities : from tokamaks to stellarators

We will explore different aspects of  magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) instabilities in tokamaks and stellarators. Both devices require a helical magnetic field to efficiently confine a hot fusion plasma in a torus. External coils generate a main field of the order of 2-4 T. Tokamaks generate the second component of the field using a large electric current in the plasma itself. Stellarators however generate all the field using only external coils. This gives rise to different kinds of instabilities in both devices, mainly current driven in tokamaks, mainly pressure driven (Rayleigh-Taylor like) in stellarators. We will review some theoretical issues related to the MHD stability in both tokamaks and stellarators. We will see why they are crucial in practice, in view of future experiments such as ITER. We will also try to give a taste of the numerical challenge faced by whoever tries to simulate the complex nonlinear behavior of such plasmas.


Thursday 2nd February 2017 at 11:00 AM
Ecole Polytechnique, Salle de conférence du CPhT, Bâtiment 06

Jeffrey Brown
Université de Louisiane, Baton Rouge et Centre de Physique Théorique, Ecole polytechnique

Modeling ultrashort laser pulses in gases

The interaction of short, intense (10^14 W/cm^2) laser pulses with atomic and molecular gases produces a wide range of interesting nonlinear optical phenomena.  Accurately modeling how microscopic quantum processes give rise to macroscopic optical properties in a computationally feasible manner is challenging. For determining which "ingredients" are necessary in a model to capture the most dominant quantum processes, we investigated the utility of exactly solvable, quantum-based laser-matter interaction models. From this new understanding, we have developed a novel laser-matter interaction model based on Stark resonant states, which provides an accurate and computationally efficient method of representing the nonlinear response of a gaseous medium. 


- Professor at Baruch College (City University of New York)

- Visiting Professor supported by the "Jean d'Alembert" grant
  program of the Paris-Saclay University

Jamal Jalilian-Marian, professor at Baruch College - CUNY, joins the particle physics group of CPHT for a duration of one year, starting mid-september. He comes to us on a "Jean d'Alembert" grant, which was awarded to him by the Idex Paris-Saclay.

Grants program "Jean d'Alembert": the funded researchers

Professor Jalilian-Marian is a world-renowed theoretical physicist, expert in quantum chromodynamics. His work is directly connected with measurements performed by experimental physicists of several international collaborations, well represented in the physics department of École Polytechnique, and in the P2I department of the Paris-Saclay University.

For more information, see :


Antoine Georges, Professeur au Collège de France et chercheur au Centre de Physique Théorique de l'Ecole Polytechnique a reçu une bourse Synergie par le Conseil Européen de la Recherche en 2012.

Le projet "Frontiers in Quantum Materials Control" (QMAC) réunit Andrea Cavalleri (Institut Max Planck, Hamburg), Antoine Georges (CPHT-Ecole Polytechnique et Collège de France) Dieter Jaksch (Université d'Oxford) et Jean-Marc Triscone (Université de Genève).




Silke Biermann, Professeur chargée de cours et chercheuse au Centre de Physique Théorique à l’École polytechnique, a reçu une bourse d’excellence européenne du Conseil Européen de la Recherche. Elle a été primée dans la catégorie Consolidator Grant (ERC 2013), pour ses travaux de recherche sur les systèmes à fortes corrélations électroniques.

Nom du projet : ERC CORRELMAT "Predictive electronic structure calculations for materials with strong electronic correlations: long-range Coulomb interactions and many-body screening"