Richard M Martin

Professor Emeritus


Richard M Martin

Primary Research Area

  • Condensed Matter Physics


Professor Richard Martin obtained his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Chicago in 1969, after earning a S.B. in engineering physics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 1964. He worked as a member of the technical staff at Bell Labs (1969-71) and then as a principal scientist at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center and a consulting professor at Stanford University. He joined the physics faculty at the University of Illinois in 1988. In 2007 he retired from the University of Illinois.  He now lives in Palo Alto, CA and is a consulting professor in the Department of Applied Physics at Stanford.

A distinguished theorist who has made seminal contributions to our understanding of the electronic properties of solids, Professor Martin has used complicated formal analyses, novel computational techniques, phenomenological analyses, and the interpretation of experiments to elucidate the electronic structure of complex materials.

Research Statement

The goals Richard Martin's research are to develop theoretical and computational methods for condensed matter starting from the fundamental many-body equations for the electrons. The primary methods used are density functional methods, which can be applied to diverse solids and liquids, and quantum Monte Carlo simulations, which can find exact properties of many-body systems. This is combined with fundamental theory of many-body systems, for example the distinction between metals and insulators in terms of the ground state wavefunction and quantitative measures of polarization and localization in an insulator.

His book"Electronic Structure: Basic Theory and Practical Methods" (Cambridge University Press, 2004; reprinted in 2005 and 2008. Translated into Japanese in two volumes in 2010 and 2012) has become a standard in the field. It is devoted primarily to density functional methods. A new book in progress, which will cover the most widely-used many-body methods, is entitled "Interacting Electrons" in conjunction with coauthors David Ceperley and Lucia Reining (Ecole Polytechnique).

Science in developing countries:
In recent years he has been devoted to advancement of research opportunities for scientists in less developed countries. Chair of International Advisory Committee: African School for Electronic Structure Methods and Applications. Organizer in 2010 and 2012, planning for series and supporting activities until 2020. The series and schools that have been held are described at

Research Honors

  • CU International Humanitarian Award, 2005
  • General Councilor, American Physical Society, 2004
  • Sabbatical Scholar, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 2000-01
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1996
  • Senior Research Fellow Prize, Alexander Humboldt Foundation, 1994-95
  • Fellow, American Physical Society, 1986