Mercedes Martin-Benito, Renate Loll and I hosted a quantum gravity conference entitled Shapes of Gravity at Radboud Institute in Nijmegen on March 30 - April 1. There was a short focused workshop on Shape Dynamics immediately following the conference on April 2 - 3. For more details about the conference and workshop, including the list of speakers and titles and abstracts of the talks see the conference website here. The talks were recorded and are available at the conference YouTube Channel here.
My Research Interests
I am a theoretical physicist interested in the most fundamental of questions. Of these, I find those related to the quantum nature of space and time to be most compelling because they involve understanding how two of our most revolutionary theories of physics — Einstein's theory of General Relativity and Quantum Theory — can be merged into one simple framework called Quantum Gravity. This is no easy merger: finding a theory of Quantum Gravity is one of the oldest and hardest open problems of theoretical physics. A genuine solution is likely to involve a complete rethinking of our conception of reality.
My main line of attack towards this important problem is a new approach to gravity called Shape Dynamics, which you can read more about here. Shape Dynamics is a theory of gravity that is completely indistinguishable from General Relativity as far as most measurements are concerned, but differs from it for extreme regions of our Universe like black holes. Moreover, the basic principles of Shape Dynamics are different from those of General Relativity in that local scale is meaningless and that the notion of time is completely different. It is my hope that the new insights of Shape Dynamics might help resolve some of the difficulties involved in constructing a theory of quantum gravity. I am extremely grateful for being able to work on these questions with some wonderful collaborators including: Julian Barbour, Henrique Gomes, Tim Koslowski, Flavio Mercati, my PhD supervisor Lee Smolin, and Karim Thébault; as well as some new collaborators: Gabe Herczeg, Vasudev Shyam, Hans Westman, and Tom Złośnik. For more information about my research, visit my Research page.
I believe that knowledge is something to be shared. Over the course of many years of physics education, I have learned that the Universe is more beautifully intricate than I ever could have imagined. With every year, it seemed my whole understanding of reality got turned upside down, and this process of discovery was one of the most exciting and valuable experiences of my life. However, none of this process of learning would have been possible without the fantastic teachers I have had along the way. I strongly believe in science communication as a way to pay back this favour by trying to reach out to new generations of thinkers. That is why I have written several award winning popular science essays and participated in many science outreach initiatives. Many of these can be accessed through my Teaching and Outreach pages, where they are outlined.
I enjoy working with students and am actively recruiting. If you are interested, please take a look at my page for Prospective Students. Under the Research tab, you will also find a list of projects that I am working on and ideas for future research.
My current position is funded by a Dutch NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) Innovational Research Incentives Scheme: Veni grant, which funds my postdoc position at the Theoretical High Energy Physics department at Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. There, I work in the Quantum Gravity research group headed by Renate Loll.