Physics Expert To Speak April 1 On Black Hole Research

March 29, 2005

by Judy Long

Dr. Matthew Choptuik, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of British Columbia (UBC), will speak at 2 p.m., April 1, in room E227 of the Baylor Sciences Building on the Baylor University campus. "Critical Phenomena in Gravitational Collapse" is the topic. The lecture, sponsored jointly by the department of physics and the Center for Astrophysics, Space Physics and Engineering Research (CASPER), is free and open to the public.

Choptuik received the Rutherford Memorial Medal in Physics from the Royal Society of Canada "in recognition of his stature as the world leader in the field of Numerical General Relativity" in 2001. He was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society and received the Prize in Theoretical and Mathematical Physics from the Canadian Association of Physicists and the Centre de Recherches Mathématiques in 2003. He also is a member of the editorial board of Classical and Quantum Gravity.

His research interests focus on strong, dynamic gravitational forces, including the formation of black holes, the collision of two black holes or neutron stars and supernovae explosions.

"The complex nature of these problems necessitate a computational approach; that is, we use large computers to simulate processes such as black hole formation and interaction, and then attempt to extract the salient physics from the results of the simulations," he said.

Choptuik received his bachelor's degree from Brandon University in Manitoba and his master's and doctoral degrees from UBC. Following doctoral work, he worked as a research associate at Cornell and then as a post-doctoral fellow at the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics at the University of Toronto.

In 1991, he joined the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin, where he spent eight years before returning to UBC, where he is now building Canada's first research effort in numerical relativity. For more information, contact the department of physics at (254) 710-2511.

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