Physics students publish papers in top research journals

Izak Thuestad & Alec Yonika uncover new features, employ new techniques in researching black holes

physics grad student
Alec Yonika is a PhD candidate in Engineering & Applied Science.

Alec Yonika, PhD candidate, and Izak Thuestad, MS candidate, have recently published their research findings on different aspects of black hole physics in top research journals.

Quantum nature of a black hole's central singularity

Alec is a student in the Engineering and Applied Science PhD program, pursuing the computational science option.

His project involved a study of the quantum nature of a black hole's central singularity. His results suggest that when effects from quantum gravity are taken into account, there is no physical singularity; that is, the singularity is fully "resolved." In fact, the singularity is replaced by a "repulsive" gravity that ultimately results in a black hole transitioning into a white hole.

One novel aspect of Alec's work is that it involved applying techniques of numerical analysis and computation that are not common in the quantum gravity subfield. This may result in a new way of testing models in quantum gravity and investigating their full viability. 

Professors Gaurav Khanna (UMassD) and Parampreet Singh (Louisiana State University) were co-authors on the paper and advised Alec’s research efforts. Alec's paper has been published in the Institute of Physics journal Classical and Quantum Gravity. 

A preprint is available as a free download: "Von-Neumann Stability and Singularity Resolution in Loop Quantized Schwarzschild Black Hole"

physics student
Izak Thuestad is a master's degree candidate in physics.

Scalar fields in black hole spacetimes

Izak Thuestad is a student in the master’s program in physics. His research work—inspired partly by the 2014 Christopher Nolan film Interstellar—involved a detailed study of the behavior of physical fields in the interior region of a black hole spacetime.

Izak’s efforts verified aspects of such systems as were known before; he also uncovered some very interesting new features. He accomplished this effort by performing high-accuracy and high-precision numerical computations using hardware (a cluster of GPUs and PlayStations) supplied by UMass Dartmouth’s Center for Scientific Computing & Visualization Research.

Professors Gaurav Khanna (UMassD) and Richard Price (MIT/UMassD) were co-authors on Izak’s paper and closely advised his research. The paper has been published in the top research journal in physics: the American Physical Society’s Physical Review.

A preprint is available as a free download: "Scalar Fields in Black Hole Spacetimes"

Prof. Gaurav Khanna of the Physics Department serves as the research advisor for both students. 

More information



College of Engineering, Departments Physics Dept, Features - Corsair Stories, Features - Graduate, Research