Angel Rubio, born in Oviedo, Spain, is the Director of the Theory Department of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter since 2014. He is also Distinguish Research Scientist at the Simons Foundation’s Flatiron Institute (NY, USA) and Professor/Chair for condensed matter physics at the University of the Basque Country in Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain. He received his PhD in Physics in 1991 from the University of Valladolid. During his PhD studies, he spent time at several well-known universities in USA, Germany, UK, Spain and France. He worked as post-doctoral researcher at University of California at Berkeley (1992-94). Between 1994 and 2001 he was an Associate Professor at the UVA. Diverse Professorships at the École Polytechnique Paris-Saclay, the Freie Universität Berlin and the Université de Montpellier followed. After being appointed with a Full Professorship in 2001, he moved to San Sebastián and started at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) as Chair of Condensed Matter Physics and director of the Nano-Bio Spectroscopy Group. In August 2014 he accepted the position as Director of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg, Germany. He is also External Scientific Member of the Fritz Haber Institute of Max-Planck-Gesellschaft in Berlin as well as Full Professor at the University of Hamburg (since 2016). He is one of the founders of the European Theoretical Spectroscopy Facility (ETSF) ( and the originator of the widely used ab initio open-source project Octopus. At present he is an Associate Editor of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, NanoLetters and is on the Editorial Board of Springer Lecture Notes in Physics, Electronic Structure, ChemPhysChem and Springer Series in Solid State Physics. His work has been recognized by several awards, including the 2018 Max Born medal and prize, 2016 Medal of the Spanish Royal Physical Society, the 2014 Premio Rey Jaime I for basic research, the 2006 DuPont Prize in nanotechnology, the 2005 Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award of the Humboldt Foundation, 1st National Prize for Graduated in Physics and two European Research Council advanced grants (2011 and 2016). He is Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, member of the Academia Europaea and European Academy of Sciences, and a foreign associate member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

His research interests are rooted to the modeling and theory of electronic and structural properties of condensed matter as well as to the development of new theoretical tools to investigate the electronic response of materials, nanostructures, biomolecules and hybrid materials to external electromagnetic fields. He is acknowledged as pioneer and leader in the area of computational materials physics and one of the founders of modern "theoretical spectroscopy" in the last years he has pioneered the development of the theoretical framework of "quantum electrodynamical density functional theory (QEDFT)" that enables the ab-initio modeling of strong light-matter interaction phenomena in materials, nanostructures and molecules. (opening the new fields of QED-Chemistry or polaritonic chemistry).

Membership Type

International Member

Election Year


Primary Section

Section 33: Applied Physical Sciences

Secondary Section

Section 13: Physics