The LIGO interferometer in Hanford, Washington. (Photo courtesy LIGO Laboratory.)
Top: 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.)

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.
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 Gravitationalwave 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 blackhole 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 nextgeneration detectors.
As a graduate student at Caltech, my research spanned a variety of topics in gravitationalwave physics, including thermal noise in gravitationalwave detectors, blackhole 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 implicitexplicit time stepping as a way to reduce the cost of binary black hole simulations.
Support
My students and I are pleased to thank the National Science Foundation, the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, California State University, Fullerton, and Cal State Fullerton alumnus Dan Black. Our research is supported in part by the following external grants:
NSF grant PHY1654359. CAREER: Computational GravitationalWave Science and Education in the Era of First Observations.
NSF grant PHY1606522. RUI: Computational GravitationalWave Research for the Era of First Observations.
NSF grant AST1559694. The CSUFSyracuse partnership for inclusion of underrepresented groups in gravitationalwave astronomy.
NSF grant PHY1429873. MRI: Acquisition of a HighPerformance Computer Cluster for GravitationalWave Astronomy with Advanced LIGO.
Our work has also been supported in the past by the following external grants:
Multiinvestigator Cottrell College Science Award. Developing a numerical injection analysis pipeline for gravitational waves from merging black holes and neutron stars.
NSF grant PHY1307489. RUI: Numerical Simulations of Merging Black Holes and Neutron Stars.
Teaching
I have taught the following courses:
Physics 300, "Survey of Mathematical Physics", a course that bridges the underdivision and upperdivision undergraduate physics major courses, introducing key mathematical tools while emphasizing how to think about math like a physicist.
Astronomy 444, "Applications of Gravitation," a new course on applications of general relativity for advanced undergraduate students.
Physics 211, "Elementary Physics," an algebrabased introduction to mechanics and thermodynamics.
Physics 211L, "Elementary Physics Laboratory", the laboratory corequisite to Physics 211.
Physics 520, "Analytical Mechanics," a master'slevel course in classical mechanics and special relativity.
Physics 225, "Fundamental Physics," a calculusbased introduction to mechanics. I am piloting a revision of this course using a flipped classroom, supported in part by the CSU Sustaining Success and Proven Course Resdesign redesign programs.
Curriculum Vitae
Geoffrey Lovelace
McCarthy Hall 601B, California State University, Fullerton
800 North State College Blvd., Fullerton, CA 92834
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Personal Data 



Born April 6, 1980, Huntingdon Valley, PA 



Employment 



Assistant Professor 
Aug. 2012 – present 
California State University, Fullerton 



Research Associate 
Sep. 2007 – Aug. 2012 
Cornell University 



Postdoctoral Scholar 
Jul. 2007 – Aug. 2007 
California Institute of Technology 



Education 



Ph.D. in Physics 
Oct. 2002 – Jun. 2007 
California Institute of Technology 



B.S. in Physics 
Aug. 1998 – May 2002 
University of Oklahoma 



Visiting Appointments 



Visiting Associate 
Aug. 2012 – present 
California Institute of Technology 

Download my complete CV, including a publication list and list of presentations, in PDF format.
Publications
My uptodate publication list is available through the following:
* = CSUF undergraduate student coauthor
+ = CSUF graduate student coauthor
^ = CSUF alumni
40. Geoffrey Lovelace, Carlos O. Lousto, James Healy, Mark A. Scheel, Alyssa Garcia, Richard O'Shaughnessy, Michael Boyle, Manuela Campanelli, Daniel A. Hemberger, Lawrence E. Kidder Harald P. Pfeiffer, Bela Szilagyi, Saul A. Teukolsky, and Yosef Zlochower. "Modeling the source of GW150914 with targeted numericalrelativity simulations." (2016).
39. B. P. Abbott et al., for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration. "GW151226: Observation of Gravitational Waves from a 22SolarMass Binary Black Hole Coalescence." Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 241103 (2016).
38. B. P. Abbott et al., for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration. "Directly comparing GW150914 with numerical solutions of Einstein's equations for binary black hole coalescence." (2016).
37. B. P. Abbott et al., for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration. "An improved analysis of GW150914 using a fully spinprecessing waveform model." (2016).
36. B. P. Abbott et al., for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration. "Tests of general relativity with GW150914." Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 221101 (2016).
35. B. P. Abbott et al., for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration. "Properties of the Binary Black Hole Merger GW150914." Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 241102 (2016).
34. B. P. Abbott et al., for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration. "Observation of Gravitational Waves from a Binary Black Hole Merger." Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 061102 (2016).
33. Prayush Kumar, Kevin Barkett, Swetha Bhagwat, Nousha Afshari*, Duncan A. Brown, Geoffrey Lovelace, Mark A. Scheel, and Bela Szilagyi. "Accuracy and precision of gravitationalwave models of inspiraling neutron starblack hole binaries with spin: Comparison with matterfree numerical relativity in the lowfrequency regime." Phys. Rev. D
92, 102001 (2015).
arXiv:1507.00103 [grqc]
32. Mark A. Scheel, Matthew Giesler^, Daniel A. Hemberger, Geoffrey Lovelace, Kevin Kuper*, Michael Boyle, Bela Szilagyi, and Lawrence E. Kidder. "Improved methods for simulating nearly extremal binary black holes." Class. Quantum Grav. 32, 105009 (2015).
31. Geoffrey Lovelace, Mark A. Scheel, Robert Owen, Matthew Giesler^, Reza Katebi+, Bela Szilagyi, Tony Chu, Nicholas Demos*, Daniel A. Hemberger, Lawrence E. Kidder, Harald P. Pfeiffer, and Nousha Afshari*. "Nearly extremal apparent horizons in simulations of merging black holes." Class. Quantum Grav.
32, 065007 (2015).
arXiv:1411.7297 [grqc]
30. The LIGO Scientific Collaboration, the Virgo Collaboration, and the NINJA2 Collaboration: J. Aasi et al. “The NINJA2 project: Detecting and characterizing gravitational waveforms modelled using numerical binary black hole simulations.” Class. Quantum Grav. 31, 115004 (2014).
arXiv:1401.0939 [grqc]
￼
29. Andrea Taracchini, Alessandra Buonanno, Yi Pan, Tanja Hinderer, Michael Boyle, Daniel A. Hemberger, Lawrence E. Kidder, Geoffrey Lovelace, Abdul H. Mroue, Harald P. Pfeiffer, Mark A. Scheel, Bela Szilagyi, Nicholas W. Taylor, and Anıl Zenginoglu. “Effectiveonebody model for blackhole binaries with generic mass ratios and spins.” Phys. Rev. D
89, 061502 (2014).
28. Ian Hinder et al, “Erroranalysis and comparison to analytical models of numerical waveforms produced by the NRAR Collaboration.” Class. Quantum Grav. 31, 025012 (2014).
arXiv:1307.5307 [grqc]
27. Abdul H. Mroue, Mark A. Scheel, Bela Szilagyi, Harald P. Pfeiffer, Michael Boyle, Daniel A. Hemberger, Lawrence E. Kidder, Geoffrey Lovelace, Serguei Ossokine, Nicholas W. Taylor, Anıl Zenginoglu, Luisa T. Buchman, Tony Chu, Evan Foley+, Matthew Giesler*, Robert Owen, Saul A. Teukolsky. “A catalog of 174 highquality binary blackhole simulations for gravitationalwave astronomy.” Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 241104 (2013).
26. Alexandre Le Tiec, Alessandra Buonanno, Abdul H. Mroué, Harald P. Pfeiffer, Daniel A. Hemberger, Geoffrey Lovelace, Lawrence E. Kidder, Mark A. Scheel, Béla Szilágyi, Nicholas W. Taylor, and Saul A. Teukolsky. “Periastron Advance in Spinning Black Hole Binaries: Gravitational SelfForce from Numerical Relativity.” Phys. Rev. D 88, 124027 (2013).
25. Tanja Hinderer, Alessandra Buonanno, Abdul H. Mroue, Daniel A. Hemberger, Geoffrey Lovelace, Harald P. Pfeiffer, Lawrence E. Kidder, Mark A. Scheel, Bela Szilagyi, Nicholas W. Taylor, and Saul A. Teukolsky. “Periastron advance in spinning black hole binaries: comparing effectiveonebody and numerical relativity.” Phys. Rev. D 88, 084005 (2013).
24. Daniel Hemberger, Geoffrey Lovelace, Thomas J. Loredo, Lawrence E. Kidder, Mark A. Scheel, Bela Szilagyi, Nicholas W. Taylor, and Saul A. Teukolsky. “Final spin and radiated energy in numerical simulations of binary black holes with equal masses and equal, aligned or antialigned spins.” Phys. Rev. D 88, 064014 (2013).
23. Geoffrey Lovelace, Matthew D. Duez, Francois Foucart, Lawrence E. Kidder, Harald P. Pfeiffer, Mark A. Scheel, and Bela Szilagyi. “Massive disk formation in the tidal disruption of a neutron star by a nearly extremal black hole.” Class. Quantum Grav. 30, 135004 (2013).
22. Daniel A. Hemberger, Mark A. Scheel, Lawrence E. Kidder, Bela Szilagyi, Geoffrey Lovelace, Nicholas W. Taylor, and Saul A. Teukolsky. “Dynamical excision boundaries in spectral evolutions of binary black hole spacetimes.” Class. Quantum Grav. 30, 115001 (2013).
21. David A. Nichols, Aaron Zimmerman, Yanbei Chen, Geoffrey Lovelace, Keith D. Matthews, Robert Owen, Fan Zhang, and Kip S. Thorne. “Visualizing Spacetime Curvature via FrameDrag Vortexes and Tidal Tendexes III. Quasinormal Pulsations of Schwarzschild and Kerr Black Holes.” Phys. Rev. D
86, 104028 (2012).
arXiv:1208.3038 [grqc].
20. Fan Zhang, Aaron Zimmerman, David A. Nichols, Yanbei Chen, Geoffrey Lovelace, Keith D. Matthews, Robert Owen, and Kip S. Thorne. “Visualizing Spacetime Curvature via FrameDrag Vortexes and Tidal Tendexes II. Stationary Black Holes.” Phys. Rev. D
86, 084049 (2012).
arXiv:1208.3034 [grqc].
19. Fan Zhang, Jeandrew Brink, Bela Szilagyi, and Geoffrey Lovelace. “A geometrically motivated coordinate system for exploring spacetime dynamics using a quasiKinnersley tetrad.” Phys. Rev. D
86, 084020 (2012).
arXiv:1208.0630 [grqc].
18. Bryant Garcia, Geoffrey Lovelace, Lawrence E. Kidder, Michael Boyle, Saul A. Teukolsky, Mark A. Scheel, and Bela Szilagyi. “Are different approaches to constructing initial data for binary black hole simulations of the same astrophysical situation equivalent?” Phys. Rev. D
86, 084054 (2012).
arXiv:1206.2943 [grqc].
17. Andrea Taracchini, Yi Pan, Alessandra Buonanno, Enrico Barausse, Tony Chu, Lawrence E. Kidder, Geoffrey Lovelace, Harald P. Pfeiffer, and Mark A. Scheel. “A prototype effectiveonebody model for nonprecessing spinning inspiralmergerringdown waveforms.” Phys. Rev. D 86, 024011 (2012).
16. Michael Boyle et al. “The NINJA2 catalog of hybrid postNewtonian/numericalrelativity waveforms for nonprecessing blackhole binaries.” Class. Quantum Grav. 29, 124001 (2012).
15. Geoffrey Lovelace, Michael Boyle, Mark A. Scheel, and Bela Szilagyi. “Highaccuracy gravitational waveforms for binaryblackhole mergers with nearly extremal spins.” Class. Quantum Grav. 29, 045003 (2012).
14. David A. Nichols, Robert Owen, Fan Zhang, Aaron Zimmerman, Jeandrew Brink, Yanbei Chen, Jeffrey D. Kaplan, Geoffrey Lovelace, Keith D. Matthews, Mark A. Scheel, and Kip S. Thorne. “Visualizing spacetime curvature via framedrag vortexes and tidal tendexes: General theory and weakgravity applications.” Phys. Rev. D 84, 124014 (2011).
13. Stephen R. Lau, Geoffrey Lovelace, and Harald P. Pfeiffer. “Implicitexplicit (IMEX) evolutions of single black holes.” Phys. Rev. D 84, 084023 (2011).
12. Robert Owen, Jeandrew Brink, Yanbei Chen, Jeffrey D. Kaplan, Geoffrey Lovelace, Keith D. Matthews, David A. Nichols, Mark A. Scheel, Fan Zhang, Aaron Zimmerman, and Kip S. Thorne. “Framedragging vortexes and tidal tendexes attached to colliding black holes: visualizing the curvature of spacetime.” Phys. Rev. Lett. 106, 151101 (2011).
11. Geoffrey Lovelace, Mark A. Scheel, and Bela Szilagyi. “Simulating merging binary black holes with nearly extremal spins.” Phys. Rev. D. 83, 024010 (2011).
10. Geoffrey Lovelace, Yanbei Chen, Michael Cohen, Jeffrey D. Kaplan, Drew Keppel, Keith D. Matthews, David A. Nichols, Mark A. Scheel, and Ulrich Sperhake. “Momentum flow in blackhole binaries: II. Numerical simulations of equalmass, headon mergers with antiparallel spins.” Phys. Rev. D 82, 064031 (2010).
9. Geoffrey Lovelace. “Reducing spurious gravitational radiation in binaryblackhole simulations by using conformally curved initial data.” Class. Quantum Grav. 26, 114002 (2009).
8. Geoffrey Lovelace, Robert Owen, Harald P. Pfeiffer, and Tony Chu. “Binaryblackhole initial data with nearly extremal spins.” Phys. Rev. D 78, 084017 (2008).
7. Chao Li and Geoffrey Lovelace. “Generalization of Ryan’s theorem: Probing tidal coupling with gravitational waves from nearly circular, nearly equatorial, extrememassratio inspirals.” Phys. Rev. D 77, 064022 (2008).
T. Geoffrey Lovelace. “Topics in gravitationalwave physics.” Ph.D. thesis, California Institute of Technology (2007).
6. Duncan A. Brown, Jeandrew Brink, Hua Fang, Jonathan R. Gair, Chao Li, Geoffrey Lovelace, Ilya Mandel, and Kip S. Thorne. “Prospects for detection of gravitational waves from intermediatemassratio inspirals.” Phys. Rev. Lett. 99, 201102 (2007).
5. Harald P. Pfeiffer, Duncan A. Brown, Lawrence E. Kidder, Lee Lindblom, Geoffrey Lovelace, and Mark A. Scheel. “Reducing orbital eccentricity in binary black hole simulations.” Class. Quantum Grav. 24 S59 (2007).
4. Geoffrey Lovelace. “The dependence of testmass thermal noises on beam shape in gravitationalwave interferometers.” Class. Quantum Grav. 24, 4491 (2007).
3. Hua Fang and Geoffrey Lovelace. “Tidal coupling of a Schwarzschild black hole and circularly orbiting moon.” Phys. Rev. D. 72, 124016 (2005).
2. Chung Kao, Geoffrey Lovelace, and Lynne H. Orr. “Detecting a Higgs pseudoscalar with a Z boson at the LHC.” Phys. Lett. B 567, 259 (2003).
1. Yun Wang and Geoffrey Lovelace. “Unbiased Estimate of Dark Energy Density from Type Ia Supernova Data.” Astrophys. J. 562 L115 (2001).
Movies
The following are a selection of movies from some recent numerical simulations that I have performed using the Spectral Einstein Code (SpEC) as part of my research in collarboation with the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) collaboration. For more, please see the SXS Collaboration's YouTube channel.
To learn more, visit https://www.blackholes.org/gw150914 !
Advanced LIGO saw gravitational waves from two black holes that merged over a billion light years from Earth. This computer simulation shows (in slow motion) what this would look like up close. If this movie were played back in real time, it would last for about one third of a second.
In this movie, the black holes are near us, in front of a sky filled with stars and gas and dust. The black regions are the shadows of the two black holes: no light would reach us from these areas. Light from each star or bit of gas or dust travels to our eyes along paths (light rays) that are greatly bent by the holes' gravity and by their warped spacetime. This is called "gravitational lensing." Because of this gravitational lensing, the pattern of stellar and gas/dust images changes in fascinating ways, as the black holes orbit each other, then collide and merge.
The ring around the black holes, known as an "Einstein ring," arises from all the stars in a small region directly behind the holes; gravitational lensing smears their images into the shape of a ring.
The gravitational waves themselves would not be seen by a human near the black holes (though they would be felt!) and so do not show in this video, with one important exception: The gravitational waves that are traveling outward toward the small region behind the black holes disturb that region’s stellar images in the Einstein ring, causing them to slosh around in the ring, even long after the collision. The gravitational waves traveling in other directions cause weaker, and shorterlived sloshing, everywhere outside the Einstein ring.
A computer simulation of the gravitational waves from the merging black holes that LIGO observed. Our threedimensional space is shown as a twodimensional surface, with one dimension removed. The black holes’ strong gravity curves the space near them into funnel shapes. As the black holes spiral together and merge into one, gravitational waves ripple outward. The movie is shown in slow motion, about 40 times slower than real time.
This movie shows two black holes that are spinning very rapidly (about 97% of the theoretical maximum) as they spiral together and merge. The simulation was published in Geoffrey Lovelace, Michael Boyle, Mark A. Scheel, and Bela Szilagyi, Class. Quantum Grav. 29, 045003 (2012) (http://arxiv.org/abs/1110.2229), and the movie was rendered by Cornell undergraduate researcher Robert McGehee, Jr.
The holes trace out their orbits as cyan and magenta lines, and their spins point along the white arrows. The colored surfaces are the holes' apparent horizons, shaded by the horizon vorticity (i.e., by how much an observer's body, oriented perpendicular to the horizon, would be twisted by the hole as it spins).
The black holes’ spins and the orbital angular momentum point in the same direction. Consequently, the holes experience an “orbital hangup” effect previously seen in simulations with lower spins: the holes merge much more slowly (after many more orbits) than if the spins were pointing in the opposite direction. This gives the system time to radiate enough angular momentum so that the final black hole will have a spin less than the theoretical maximum (the final hole ends up with about 95% of the maximum in this case). The initial holes have the highest spins of all binaryblackhole simulations to date.
Merging black holes are among the most promising sources of gravitational waves for the Advanced Laser Interferometer GravitationalWave Observatory (Advanced LIGO). Accurate predictions of the gravitational waves emitted by merging black holesnecessary both for detecting the waves in LIGO data and for estimating the properties of the binaries that generated those wavescan only be constructed using numerical simulations. In this talk, I will review recent progress and discuss current challenges in numerical simulations of merging, spinning black holes. After summarizing recent results (including the effects of blackhole spin on the holes' motion, the remnant hole's mass and spin, and the emitted gravitational waveforms), I will discuss the significant challenges that simulations of spinning binary black holes must still overcome. In particular, I will discuss the challenges of constructing and applying simulated waveforms to gravitationalwave data analysis, particularly when the spins are misaligned (causing orbital and spin precession) and when the holes are spinning near the theoretical maximum.