Prof. Graeme Ackland

Chair in Computer Simulation
Research Theme:
Condensed Matter and Photonics
Research Group:
Hard Condensed Matter
Email address:
Telephone number:
+44 (0)131 650 5299
School of Physics and Astronomy, James Clerk Maxwell Building, Peter Guthrie Tait Road, Edinburgh, EH9 3FD, United Kingdom

Research interests

Computer simulation and Theoretical Physics applied to many interacting objects.

Molecular dynamics of metals.

Interatomic force model for use in molecular dynamics

Density Functional Theory calculations in materials and planetary science, in particular under high pressure.

Simulations of radiation damage in fusion and fission reactors

Theoretical Ecology - foodwebs and daisyworlds. 

Theoretical prehistoric sociology: development/stability of society, cultural hitchhiking, neolithic transition

Algorithmic non-equilibrium economics - poverty, imperfect information and spatial variation. 

Evolutionary Game Theory, evolution of trust in repeated games.


Theoretical physics is the mainstream course at UoE for students who are more interested in theoratical aspects of physics than experimental one.  It essentially offers the option of taking more formal and mathematical courses, at the expense of laboratory work.

I teach the Junior Honours course in thermodynamics, currently packaged as 50% of the "Thermal Physics" module.  This is the introductory level course in the subject, taking students from heat capacity, bulk modulus to entropy and phase transitions.

I run a very wide range of Intermediate Masters and Senior Honours projects, all of which are unique, feature an as-yet-unsolved physics problem and (therefore) run once only if successful.  Often these lead to refereed journal publications for the student, the most recent such examples being on radiation-resitant steel and on thermodynamics of the sudoku puzzle.

I contribute an annual poultry-related question to physics skills, and have a page of amusing/difficult problems

Research outputs

  1. The Role of Trust in a Self-Organising Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Model with Variable Drug Quality and Imperfect Information
    Graeme Ackland, Edmund Chattoe-Brown, Heather Hamill, Kate R Hampshire, Simon Mariwah and Gerry Mshana, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation (2019)
  2. hcp → ω phase transition mechanisms in shocked zirconium DOI
    Hongxiang Zong, Yufei Luo, Xiangdong Ding, Turab Lookman and Graeme J. Ackland, Acta Materialia, 162, p. 126-135 (2019)
  3. MIST: A Simple and Efficient Molecular Dynamics Abstraction Library for Integrator Development
    Iain Bethune, Ralf Banisch, Elena Breitmoser, Antonia Collis, Gordon Gibb, Gianpaolo Gobbo, Charles Matthews, Graeme Ackland and Benedict Leimkuhler, Computer Physics Communications (2018)
  4. Icosahedral (H2)13 supermolecule
    Graeme Ackland and Miguel Martinez-Canales, Physical Review Materials, 2, 9 (2018)
  5. Developing an interatomic potential for martensitic phase transformations in zirconium by machine learning DOI
    Hongxiang Zong, Ghanshyam Pilania, Xiangdong Ding, Graeme J. Ackland and Turab Lookman, npj Computational Materials, 4, 1 (2018)
  6. Structural and electronic properties of the alkali metal incommensurate phases DOI
    Gavin Woolman, Victor Naden Robinson, Miriam Marqués, Ingo Loa, Graeme J. Ackland and Andreas Hermann, Physical Review Materials, 2, 5 (2018)
  7. Formation of H-2-rich iodine-hydrogen compounds at high pressure DOI
    Jack Binns, Philip Dalladay-Simpson, Mengnan Wang, Graeme J. Ackland, Eugene Gregoryanz and Ross T. Howie, Physical Review B: Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, 97, 2 (2018)
  8. Influence of transition group elements on the stability of the delta- and eta-phase in nickelbase alloys DOI
    Martin Baeker, Joachim Roesler, Tatiana Hentrich and Graeme Ackland, Modelling and simulation in materials science and engineering, 26, 1 (2017)
  9. Stacking Characteristics of Close Packed Materials DOI
    Christian H. Loach and Graeme J. Ackland, Physical Review Letters, 119, 20 (2017)
  10. Charge density wave in hydrogen at high pressure DOI
    Ioan B. Magdau and Graeme J. Ackland, Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 950 (2017)
Last updated: 19 Feb 2018 at 21:11