B.S., Northeastern University; M.A., Ph. D., Boston University
Science Center 550 G
Visiting Lecturer in Physics
Theoretical work in general theory of relativity.
My field is the general theory of relativity (or general relativity) and its foundations. General relativity tells us that space and time are not as they appear to our senses: independent of each other and of physical objects. On the contrary, they form a four-dimensional spacetime, which is warped by matter and radiation. The curvature of spacetime manifests itself as gravitational force. General relativity has been experimentally verified on large scales and successfully describes and explains phenomena such as motion of planets and galaxies. However, it hasn’t been successfully applied to the realm of atoms and subatomic particles, at the scales which are governed by quantum mechanics and quantum field theory. The end goal of my research is to bridge this gap between general relativity and quantum field theory by formulating the former in mathematical language that is directly related to the observable phenomena at small scales, such as the motion of particles through spacetime. For my doctoral dissertation, my collaborator and I developed a framework of general relativity involving so-called conformal structure, which describes motion of light and massless particles, and projective structure, which describes motion of free massive particles. We hope that our formulation of relativity in terms of physically meaningful mathematical structures will bring us a step closer to a quantum theory of gravity.
Over the course of the last seven years, I have taught physics to both science and non-science students, at the college and high-school levels. For the past three years, I’ve taught a freshmen writing course titled Space and Time: Common Sense and Beyond in which students read about, discussed, and wrote papers on common-sense and scientific understanding of space and time, the notion of simplicity of a scientific theory, and the meaning of mathematical models in science. In my classes I emphasize problem-solving skills and use table-top experiments to demonstrate physical principles whenever possible. Here at Wellesley College, I teach PHYS 104 and 106.