March 21, 2016

Me

Comic_PauI work in València (click here for a video) at the Technical University of València (Universitat Politècnica de València), where I am a fellow of the Institute for Multidisciplinary Mathematics.

The university has about 30000 students and 2600 professors and three different campuses. From my office you reach the beach by foot in 19 minutes (some pictures here).

I am a visiting faculty at the Academy of Mathematics and System Science and the Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Beijing, where I lead a group in Gravitational Waves.

As for the past, I graduated in València after completion of five-years degree and 22 written exams in theoretical physics. After that, I moved to Heidelberg to do a (Master and then a) PhD in theoretical astrophysics, more precisely on non-lineal dynamics in the context of dense stellar systems and the cosmic growth of supermassive black holes.

Later, I moved to the the Max Planck Institute of Gravitational Physics in Potsdam (also called the “Albert Einstein Institute”, AEI) to work on gravitational waves. I spent a short period of about one year in Barcelona, where I worked on the formation and evolution of protoplanetary disks. After receiving an offer from the AEI in Potsdam to be a Senior Scientist in 2008, I moved back. I raised funding and the director created my own “Gravitational Wave” group, which I led until the end of 2016.

I obtained my German habilitation at the University of Potsdam in 2016, and a docent title at the Technical University of Berlin, which means that I am entitled to teach there and officially supervise PhD astronomy students at the Zentrum für Astronomie und Astrophysik.

In 2016 I joined the Institute of Space Studies located at the Campus of Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona thanks to a Ramón y Cajal fellowship.

My main research focus has been gravitational waves since 2004. These are of course happy days (years) for me since the 2015 detection. However not “just” because we have data now, but because those data fit what we predicted.

Lately my interests are focusing more on general mathematics and, to be more specific, on geometry and differential topology. But this will take some time and the transition will not be abrupt.

As a final note, when I was a student I would read out of curiosity web pages of professors and researchers whenever I did not make any progress, which was a frequent situation. To my dismay, I found several of them describing themselves as problem solvers. Now that I am older (but still consider myself a student), I would like to drop here that I describe myself as a “problem finder”, rather than a problem solver, in the hope that some (younger) student reads this.

The awesome drawing of me has been done by my good friend Matt Benacquista.