Phase diagram of the random-field Potts model

Phase diagram of the random-field Potts model


Royal Society Newton International Fellowships 2018




Dr Manoj Kumar (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India), Dr Martin Weigel (Coventry University)


5 March 19 to 4 March 2021

Project objectives

The Royal Society Newton Fellowship is aimed at non-UK scientists who are at an early stage of their research career and wish to conduct research in the UK. Dr Manoj Kumar is from the School of Physical Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India and will be working with Dr Martin Weigel, from Coventry University, in the field of computational and theoretical condensed matter physics.

Magnetic systems studied in experiments in condensed-matter physics and materials science always contain a certain concentration of impurities. This disorder often has profound effects on the properties of such systems. In particular, it alters the behaviour close to the phase transition where the collective magnetic behaviour of a system first becomes evident. Understanding such effects is hence of crucial importance for a wide range of problems. Recent methodological developments allow the applicants to study this problem in a very general system, the random-field Potts model, that contains a range of previously studied systems as special cases.

Impact statement

The fellowship is providing an opportunity for Dr Kumar to work with researchers in the field of computational and theoretical condensed matter physics within the Centre for Fluid and Complex Systems (FCS) at Coventry University. It is enabling him to gain experience of research project management and a potential to build his research career. Under the guidance of the co-applicant, Dr Martin Weigel, Dr Kumar will be hosting his first UK workshop, publishing papers and strengthening and establishing new UK-India contacts. The specific training aspect of the present proposal is contained in the complementarity of the expertise of Manoj and Martin. Manoj will profit from the extensive experience in numerical simulations of systems with complex free-energy landscapes, advanced simulation algorithms and their implementation on accelerated architectures available at the host institution.

The fellowship is providing Manoj with a crucial stepping stone to acquire the independence and advanced research competences indispensable for establishing a successful academic career. On completion of his highly esteemed Royal Society sponsored Newton International Fellowship it is expected that Manoj will be in a good position to successfully apply for a lectureship in India or elsewhere.

The benefit for India is that it has a well-established research infrastructure especially in mathematical and engineering subjects. This includes substantial research activity in statistical physics as the field of the research proposed here. It is lagging behind, however, in the computational approaches to the field which are significantly less well represented than the analytical strands. With computational methods becoming more increasing important in statistical and condensed matter physics and in materials science, bringing computational science in India up to par with other methodological strands is therefore of vital importance for the research system in India.

Particular promise is held in this respect in the use of accelerator devices such as graphical processing units (GPUs) on which FCS is specialised, as these provide high-performance computational facilities at low cost.

For FCS, the fellowship is further strengthening its international reputation, which through a series of previous large-scale EU network projects has already gained quite significant dimension. The previous projects have nucleated collaborations with several Indian institutions. These are being made sustainable through the fellowship.

Excellent international connections are crucial for the health and vitality of the UK research community, and this need is reinforced under the profound changes that will result from Brexit. India is of particular relevance here as it has historically strong ties to the UK. In recent years, however, the best Indian researchers increasingly tend to go to the US for completing their education and starting research careers. High-profile programmes such as the Newton Fellowship scheme are important antidotes in this respect.

Coventry University is also engaged in developing formal global links aimed at increasing its student numbers in overseas campuses, so developing strong relationships with India, such as prestigious Royal Society sponsored Fellowships, is seen as a foundation for this strategy for research, as well as teaching.


  • The fellowship provides an opportunity for the Fellow to work with UK researchers in the field of computational and theoretical condensed matter physics.
  • Gain experience of research project management.
  • Potential to build research career through skills development.
  • Host the Fellow’s first UK workshop.
  • Published journal papers and conference submissions.
  • Strengthen and establish new UK-India contacts.
  • Further strengthen the international profile of FCS.
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