A colloquium series in Mathematics and Computer Science

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On Falling Into Black Holes

Mihalis Dafermos,
Princeton University and Cambridge University

June 11, 2019 - 16:00
Room: 1A150


The celebrated "black hole" spacetimes of Schwarzschild and Kerr play a central role in our current understanding of Einstein's general theory of relativity. Are these spacetimes stable, however, as solutions to the Einstein vacuum equations, in their exterior region? And what fate awaits physical observers who enter inside a "generic" black hole? It turns out that these two questions are intimately related and the answer to the second may be more disturbing than previously thought. This talk will try to explain how so.

Short bio

Mihalis Dafermos is Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University and holds the Lowndean Chair of Astronomy and Geometry at the University of Cambridge.

He studied mathematics at Harvard University and was awarded a BA degree in 1997. He received his PhD degree at Princeton University in 2001 under the supervision of Demetrios Christodoulou. Following a C.L.E. Moore Instructor position at MIT, he had faculty appointments in Cambridge before joining the Princeton mathematics faculty in 2013. Starting from 2015 he joined also the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics in Cambridge.

He has won the Adams Prize in 2004 writing on the subject Differential Equations and the Whitehead Prize in 2009 for "his work on the rigorous analysis of hyperbolic partial differential equations in general relativity." In 2016 he was elected as a fellow of the American Mathematical Society. He was an invited speaker at ICM 2014 in Seoul.

Mihalis has given fundamental contributions in general relativity and partial differential equations, in particular in the analysis of the formation and stability of black holes and of the structure of cosmic singularities.

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