Contact Information

McCarthy Hall 601B

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Mailing Address
Department of Physics, MH-611
California State University, Fullerton
800 North State College Blvd.
Fullerton, CA 92834
+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.



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

GWPAC and the SXS collaboration are contributing to LIGO's discovery of gravitational waves.

At Cal State Fullerton, my research goals focus on modeling sources of gravitational waves using numerical relativity. Gravitational waves—ripples of spacetime curvature—are opening a new window on the universe. The Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (Advanced LIGO) has observed the first (and second) gravitational waves passing through Earth, and both came from merging black holes. My students and I use supercomputers to simulate colliding black holes using the Spectral Einstein Code (SpEC), and we are particularly interested in binaries with high black-hole spins and in responding to LIGO observations. 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.

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.



My students and I are pleased to thank the National Science Foundation, the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority ParticipationCalifornia State University, Fullerton, and Cal State Fullerton alumnus Dan Black. Our research is supported in part by the following external grants:

NSF grant PHY-1654359CAREER: Computational Gravitational-Wave Science and Education in the Era of First Observations.

NSF grant PHY-1606522. RUI: Computational Gravitational-Wave Research for the Era of First Observations.

NSF grant AST-1559694. The CSUF-Syracuse partnership for inclusion of underrepresented groups in gravitational-wave astronomy.

NSF grant PHY-1429873. MRI: Acquisition of a High-Performance Computer Cluster for Gravitational-Wave Astronomy with Advanced LIGO.

Our work has also been supported in the past by the following external grants:

Multi-investigator Cottrell College Science Award. Developing a numerical injection analysis pipeline for gravitational waves from merging black holes and neutron stars.

NSF grant PHY-1307489. RUI: Numerical Simulations of Merging Black Holes and Neutron Stars.