I am a theoretical physicist, working in gravitation and cosmology. My research is aimed at the most fundamental questions about the universe: what is the mechanism that set the big bang initial conditions? what is the universe composed of? and how will it be changing in the future? I use the tools of general relativity and quantum field theory, a combination of established and original methods from non-linear perturbation theory and, more recently, numerical relativity. My work is also highly influenced by observations, so I make a point of interacting with numerous experimental groups.
Currently, I am the Lise Meitner Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics. My research is co-funded by the Simons Foundation: Together with Paul Steinhardt (Princeton), I direct the Simons Initiative New Directions in Cosmology and Gravitational Theory. Before joining the Max Planck Society, I held the inaugural John A. Wheeler Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science (2014-7) and spent the following two years as a Research Faculty and Principal Investigator of the Origins of the Universe Initiative at the Columbia Center for Theoretical Physics (2017-8) and Harvard's Institute for Theory and Computation (2018-9).
I completed my doctoral dissertation at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in 2014. The last two years of my PhD studies, I was supported by prize fellowships that enabled me to conduct research abroad; I was the Fritz Thyssen Fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics during 2012-3 and spent the academic year 2013-4 at the Physics Department of Princeton University.
I wrote another, award-winning PhD thesis at Munich University in 2010, studying philosophical implications of quantum physics. The Philosophy of Science remains an interest. Besides my research in Cosmology, I am actively participating in the dialogue with Philosophy and the Humanities in general.