photo credit: John Ulan
My name is Jens, and I am a theoretical physicist. Presently I am a postdoctoral researcher at William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA, United States, in the high energy theory group with Prof. Chris Carone, Prof. Josh Erlich and Prof. Marc Sher.
I think that black holes are some of the most fasctinating objects in our Universe: they are very dense astrophysical objects, surrounded by a so-called event horizon. Inside this region, nothing can escape, not even light. And the craziest thing: these objects exist in our Universe!
But there is likely something wrong with this picture: Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity predicts that inside black holes there is a region where the gravitational force becomes infinite! Many physicists do not believe this to be true, and search for modified descriptions of gravity where the gravitational force stays finite. I am one of those physicists.
In my work, I am interested in the intersection of theoretical gravity (the theory of black holes) and high energy physics (the theory of quantum fields, particles, and short distances). In this area, I try to model new physics that takes place at very high energies, or very small distance scales, that can hopefully help us understand what happens inside black holes. And, most importantly, I try to answer this question: what if any of these alternative theories is true? Are there any other consequences of those theories we can observe in Nature?
If you are interested in more technical details, you can read more about my research here.
Outside of my office I am passionate about scientific outreach. I also founded and organize the PhD/early postdoc symposium on non-locality, and together with Dr. Ran Yang I organize the Evening Electronics 101 meetings at William & Mary. In my spare time I like to collect Nixie tubes, check out my collection and an invited article I wrote for IEEE Spectrum on the history of the Nixie tube. I also run an electronics blog for beginners in electronics and produce video tutorials for the connected YouTube channel “FriendlyWire.”
From 2016–2020 I was a Ph.D. student at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, with Valeri P. Frolov and Don N. Page as a Vanier Scholar, working on integrability in black hole physics and, later, on non-locality in gravity and quantum theory. I was awarded the Faculty of Science Dissertation Award by the University of Alberta and the DTP/WITP P.R. Wallace Thesis Prize by the Canadian Association of Physicists, Division of Theoretical Physics, as well as the Winnipeg Institute for Theoretical Physics.
Before, from 2015–2016, I was a PSI graduate student at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and worked on the symplectic structure of gauge theories with Prof. Lee Smolin and Prof. Laurent Freidel.
From 2012–2015, I was a master student in the gravitation & relativity group at the Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of Cologne, Germany. I wrote my master's thesis under supervision of Prof. Friedrich W. Hehl and Prof. Claus Kiefer on the quasi-normal modes of the BTZ black hole. You can find my old website here.