Contact Information

Office
McCarthy Hall 601B

Email
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Mailing Address
Department of Physics, MH-611
California State University, Fullerton
800 North State College Blvd.
Fullerton, CA 92834
 
Phone 
+1 (657) 278-7501

LIGO Hanford
The LIGO interferometer in Hanford, Washington. (Photo courtesy LIGO Laboratory.)
 
 
 
Merging black holes
 

Merging black holesTop: Snapshot of two rapidly rotating black holes about to merge. The holes rotate around the shafts of the white arrows; also shown are the holes’ trajectories (pink, blue curves). Bottom: the emitted gravitational wave from this binary (green curve). (Images courtesy Robert McGehee, Jr.)

 

Black hole horizon

The common horizon enclosing the horizons of two rapidly rotating black holes just after they have merged.

 

Research

I am an assistant professor in the Department of Physics at California State University, Fullerton. My current research interests focus on using numerical relativity to model sources of gravitational waves, such as merging black holes. I join assistant professors Jocelyn Read and Joshua Smith in Cal State Fullerton's Gravitational Wave Physics and Astronomy Center (GWPAC), and I also am a member of the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) collaboration and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration.

As a graduate student at Caltech, my research spanned a variety of topics in gravitational-wave physics, including thermal noise in gravitational-wave detectors, black-hole tidal deformation, and reducing orbital eccentricity and spurious gravitational radiation in numerical simulations of binary black holes. Building on this broad introduction, I focused my postdoctoral research at Cornell entirely on numerical relativity: I have simulated merging black holes with the highest spins to date, explored new tools for building physical insight into strongly warped spacetime, and investigated implicit-explicit time stepping as a way to reduce the cost of binary black hole simulations.

At Cal State Fullerton, my research goals focus on modeling sources of gravitational waves using numerical relativity. Gravitational waves—ripples of spacetime curvature—will open a new window on the universe. The Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (Advanced LIGO), just completed its first observation run. LIGO will give an update on the search for gravitational waves on Thursday, February 11, 2016. I use supercomputers to simulate colliding black holes using the Spectral Einstein Code (SpEC), especially when the black holes have very high spins. I recently have begun using supercomputers to model thermal noise in LIGO mirrors, with the goal of helping to improve the sensitivity of next-generation detectors.

Teaching

I have taught the following courses:

Astronomy 444, "Applications of Gravitation," a new course on applications of general relativity for advanced undergraduate students.

Physics 211, "Elementary Physics," an algebra-based introduction to mechanics and thermodynamics.

Physics 211L, "Elementary Physics Laboratory", the laboratory co-requisite to Physics 211.

Physics 520, "Analytical Mechanics," a master's-level course in classical mechanics and special relativity.

Physics 225, "Fundamental Physics," a calculus-based introduction to mechanics.