Peter Littlewood

Dept. of Physics, James Franck Institute, and the College
Fellow, Institute of Molecular Engineering

Peter Littlewood
GCIS E 135


Littlewood holds a BA and PhD in Physics from the University of Cambridge. He was member of technical staff, and later head, of the theoretical physics research group at Bell Laboratories in New Jersey. He moved to Cambridge in 1997 as head of the Theory of Condensed Matter group, and later became head of the Cavendish Laboratory and Department of Physics. He came to UChicago in 2011 as Associate Lab Director and then Lab Director, at Argonne National Lab, returning full time to the University in 2017. He serves on the advisory boards of several institutes, including the Faraday Institution, the Simons Foundation, the Paul Scherer Institute, the Carnegie Institute for Science, and the Max Planck Institutes at Halle and Hamburg.


Littlewood’s research interests include superconductivity and superfluids, strongly correlated electronic materials, collective dynamics of glasses, density waves in solids, neuroscience, and applications of materials for energy and sustainability. Particular areas of current focus include: connectomics –measuring and modelling the connectivity of every neuron in a brain; non-equilibrium phase transitions in strongly coupled light-matter systems; and materials, technologies, and policy for energy.

Selected Publications

  • Non-Hermitian phase transition from a polariton Bose-Einstein condensate to a photon laser R Hanai, A Edelman, Y Ohashi, PB Littlewood Physical review letters 122 (18), 185301 (2019)
  • Cooperative elastic fluctuations provide tuning of the metal–insulator transition GG Guzmán-Verri, RT Brierley, PB Littlewood Nature 576 (7787), 429-432 (2019)
  • Universal themes of Bose-Einstein condensation NP Proukakis, DW Snoke, PB Littlewood Cambridge University Press (2017)
  • Why is the electrocaloric effect so small in ferroelectrics? GG Guzmán-Verri, PB Littlewood APL Materials 4 (6), 064106 (2016)
  • Polariton Condensates, D. Snoke and P.B. Littlewood, Physics Today, 63, 42 (August 2010).
  • Band Structure of SnTe studies by Photoemission Spectroscopy, P.B. Littlewood, B. Mihaila, R.K. Schulze, D.J. Safarik, J.E. Gubernatis, A. Bostwick, E. Rotenberg, C.P. Opeil, T. Durakiewicz, J.L. Smith, and J.C. Lashley, Physical Review Letters, 105, 086404 (2010).