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Chris van den Broeck appointed Professor by special appointment in gravitational waves at the Van Swinderen Institute

17 October 2017
Colliding neutron stars. Courtesy image: Nikhef
Colliding neutron stars. Courtesy image: Nikhef

The foundation Stichting Physica has appointed Dr. Chris van den Broeck Professor by special appointment in Theoretical Particle Physics and Cosmology at the Van Swinderen Institute for Particle Physics and Gravity of the University of Groningen, starting October 2nd 2017. He is a specialist in research on gravitational waves. Van den Broeck is also a researcher at Nikhef , the Dutch National Institute for Subatomic Physics, and a member of the LIGO-Virgo collaboration that announced that it had detected, for the first time ever, gravitational waves resulting from the collision of two neutron stars.

At Nikhef, Van den Broek is a research group leader and also heads the analysis group for gravitational waves. He is also a member of the LIGO-Virgo collaboration and has been actively involved in the analysis of the first gravitational wave observations. The leaders of LIGO-Virgo were awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Prizes in fundamental physics

Van den Broeck (Belgium, 1974) studied theoretical physics in Leuven and gained his PhD at Pennsylvania State University (USA) in 2005 for theoretical research, under the supervision of Professor Abhay Ashtekar, on black holes and neutron stars. From 2005 to 2009, he was a postdoc at Cardiff University (UK), as a member of the LIGO Collaboration, after which he was appointed to Nikhef and became a member of the Virgo Collaboration. He is currently co-chair of the LIGO-Virgo working group on Testing General Relativity. As a member of the LIGO-Virgo collaboration, he shared in the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics ($ 3 million) and the Gruber Cosmology Prize, both in 2016. The latter prize is awarded by the Gruber Foundation of Yale University. Van den Broeck is also associate editor of the journal General Relativity and Gravitation.

Quantum Universe and neutron stars

As Professor by special appointment at the University of Groningen Van Swinderen Institute, Van den Broeck will devote himself to teaching about gravitational waves in the Quantum Universe track of the Master’s programme in Physics. In addition, he will be involved in research on gravity’s strong field regime, in using gravitational waves to determine the internal structure of neutron stars, and in the realization of the Einstein Telescope, which may be built in Dutch Limburg.  

Last modified:07 November 2017 1.51 p.m.
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