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Erik Curiel has received the Black Hole Initiative Prize 2020


Erik Curiel was awarded the Black Hole Initiative Research Prize in July of this year. The prize of $15.000 was given "for the outstanding contribution of [the] paper 'Numerical Evolution of Shocks in the Interior of Kerr Black Holes' ... with thoughtful investigation from the disciplines of both Philosophy and Physics." That paper, published in Physical Review D (2019, 99:084033), was the result of joint, collaborative work between Dr. Curiel, Dr. Paul Chesler, a theoretical physicist at Harvard University specializing in numerical relativity and holography, and Prof. Ramesh Narayan, a theoretical astrophysicist at Harvard University specializing in gravitational lensing and the dynamics of black hole accretion disks. The work culminated in the first fully non-linear calculation of the effects of perturbations on the interior structure of astrophysically realistic models of black holes. This problem is not only of interest from the point of view of theoretical physics but also philosophy, as it lies at the heart of the so-called Cosmic Censorship Hypothesis, which posits that General Relativity is a deterministic theory. The Black Hole Initiative is an inter-disciplinary center at Harvard University focused on the study of black holes using tools, ideas and methodologies from theoretical physics, theoretical astrophysics, observational astronomy, mathematics, and philosophy. Congratulations!