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The research activity of the Institute of Theoretical Physics II concentrates on central topics in hadron and nuclear physics namely understanding the structure, properties and dynamics of strongly interacting systems. For this we employ a broad spectrum of analytical methods of modern theoretical physics, including but not limited, to effective field theories, expansion in the number of colors, resummation of leading logarithms etc., which, in certain cases, are complemented by numerical simulations.
Currently, the main research directions of the institute members include spontaneously broken approximate chiral symmetry of QCD and its manifestations in low-energy properties and dynamics of hadrons, theory of nuclear forces and applications to few- and many-body systems, lattice simulations of nuclear dynamics based on chiral effective field theory, low-energy electroweak few-nucleon reactions, pion-nucleon dynamics, quark mass dependence of hadronic observables (especially in connection with lattice-QCD calculations and the theory of Big Bang nucleosynthesis), effective field theories for spin-3/2 fields, hadron spectroscopy (especially in connection with exotic hadrons), gravitational form factors of hadrons. These investigations are related to experiments running or being planned at BaBar (SLAC, Stanford, USA), BES (Beijing, China), ELSA (Bonn, Germany), HIGS (Durham, USA), JLab (Newport News, USA), LHC (CERN, Genf, Switzerland), MAMI (Mainz, Germany), MAX-IV lab (Lund, Sweden) PANDA (FAIR, Darmstadt, Germany) and Spring-8 (Japan).

Our institute is a member of the Sino-German CRC 110 Symmetries and the Emergence of Structure in QCD supported by DFG and of the NRW-FAIR excellence network. It is involved into the collaborative project 05P2021 "Aufbau von PANDA bei FAIR" supported by BMBF. Another ongoing project is the ERC Advanced Grant "Nuclear Theory from First Principles". Members of the institute actively participate in international research networks including the LENPIC and Nuclear Lattice EFT collaborations.