- Office: JOH 11B
Professor Edery is an Associate professor in the Department of Physics since July 2007. He completed a B.Sc. in Physics at McGill University, a Master’s degree in Theoretical Nuclear Physics at Queen’s University and a Ph.D. (1998) at the Université de Montréal in the area of Gravitation and Field theory. He was a postdoctoral fellow at McGill University and then worked in Maryland for a NASA GSFC contractor on the lunar trajectory design of the WMAP mission and other NASA satellite missions. In spring 2008, he was awarded a five-year grant by NSERC for his project entitled Conformal anomaly in the gravitationally coupled magnetic monopole and vacua effects under external conditions.
Valerio Faraoni earned a BSc in Physics (Laurea in Fisica) at the University of Pavia, Italy, and an MSc and PhD (1991) in Astrophysics under the supervision of Prof. George F.R. Ellis at the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste, Italy (http://www.sissa.it). He has held various research and teaching appointments at the University of Victoria, B.C., the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Pune, India, the Free University of Brussels, Belgium, and the University of Northern British Columbia. He came to Bishop’s University in 2005, where he is currently an Associate Professor in the physics department.
Theoretical cosmology studies the dynamics, origin, evolution, and fate of the universe, and the formation of structures (galaxies, galaxy clusters, and superclusters) in it. In 1998 it was discovered, by studying distant supernovae, that the expansion of the universe is accelerated. Many theoretical models have been proposed in order to explain this shocking discovery and they mostly fall into two classes: dark energy and modified gravity. Dark energy models assume that Einstein’s theory of gravity (general relativity) is valid and that a mysterious form of dark energy of unknown nature permeates the universe and makes up 70% of its energy content. This dark energy must necessarily have exotic properties, such as a negative pressure. The current observational data seem to require an even more negative pressure and more exotic energy (called phantom energy), which may cause the universe to end at a finite time in the future in a Big Rip singularity (the end of time), in which all bound objects-galaxies, planets, humans, atoms-are ripped apart by increasing gravitational forces. If phantom energy is really fuelling the cosmic acceleration, we probably have to abandon Einstein’s general relativity in favour of alternative gravity theories such as, for example, scalar-tensor gravity, a generalization of Einstein’s theory motivated by string/M-theories. The latter attempt to unify gravity with the other three fundamental forces, a goal known as “the holy grail of theoretical physics”.
The second class of models, modified gravity, does not require exotic dark energy but instead modifies Einstein’s relativity with corrections that only affect large (cosmological) scales.
Dr. Faraoni’s research explores both classes of models, trying to fully understand their dynamics, explain the cosmic acceleration, develop models that are theoretically consistent and compatible with available experiments, study their predictions (e.g., will the universe accelerate forever? Will it end in a Big Rip?) and related issues such as the production of gravitational waves, or the accretion of phantom energy onto black holes or wormholes. Long term goals include the development of the correct theory of gravity (it is possible that departures from Einstein’s gravity are unobservable at the small Solar System scales but are already observed in the cosmic acceleration), finding out if dark energy actually exists and, if so, determining precisely its strange properties, understanding the early universe and obtaining information, otherwise inaccessible on Earth, on the high energy physics that left an imprint in the cosmic microwave background and in the distribution of galaxies and galaxy clusters.
Other recent interests include the study of black holes embedded in a cosmological background and the foundations and possible violations of the Equivalence Principle (the basis of relativistic gravity) in high energy physics.
Dr. Faraoni collaborates with various researchers worldwide on the subjects above and is involved in establishing an international research network on modified gravity.
Details on his research and an up-to-date list of publications can be found at http://www.slac.stanford.edu
Fayçal Hammad earned a BSc, as well as an MSc, in the Physics of Materials and Electronic Components at the University of Bejaia, Algeria, and a Doctorate degree in Theoretical Physics from the same University. He worked as an Assistant Professor of Physics and Mathematics at the University of Bejaia before joining Champlain College and Bishop’s University in 2014.
After completing the BSc and MSc both in Physics, at the West University of Timisoara, Romania, Dr. Nedelcescu earned a MSc in Physics (2003) at Sherbrooke University, studying the radiation hardness of gallium nitride (GaN), and then a PhD in Physics (2006), at the West University of Timisoara, studying the properties of the double hetero-structured LEDs based on GaN. In 2009 she completed a PhD in Chemical Engineering, Sherbrooke University in the domain of the experimental lab plasmas. The link between her research studies is the optical spectroscopy. In 2013 Dr. Nedelcescu became an associated member of the Plasma Quebec Group and she initiated a research axis in the domain of the experimental lab plasmas, beginning with the creation of a lab plasma source. The first results involving also undergraduate physics students were presented at the 2014 – Annual Colloquium of Plasma Quebec.
Professor Nelson received his Ph.D. in 1984 in the area of theoretical astrophysics (cannibalistic binary interactions). He subsequently held a postdoctoral fellowship at MIT (Center for Space Research) that led to pioneering work on the structure and evolution of a completely new class of substellar objects known as Brown Dwarfs. From 1986-1988 he was a research fellow at CITA (Canadian Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics). He joined the department of physics at Bishop’s as an Assistant Professor in 1988 and became a Full Professor in 1998. In 1995 he won the Chancellor’s Prize for teaching and he is currently a Canada Research Chair in Astrophysics.
Dr. Angus Prain received his undergraduate training at Canterbury (New Zealand) before coming to Canada to his MSc at Waterloo. He obtained his PhD at Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati (SISSA), in 2012 while working on experimental analogoues to applications in General Relativity. In 2013 he joined the STAR research cluster at Bishop’s working under the supervision of Dr. Valerio Faraoni. He has published many papers on various aspects of General Relativity and was recently recognized for his work by receiving a Marie Curie Fellowship (2015).
Dr. Shruti Tripathi obtained her Ph.D. from Gorakhpur University in India. She later worked as a Project Scientist and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) in Pune, India. Dr. Tripathi joined the Physics Department in April 2015 and will work mostly with Dr. Nelson on applications of SPH in astrophysics. Although her primary field of expertise is X-ray astronomy, her contributions will be a welcome addition to the STAR research cluster as a whole.
Dr. Turcotte completed his BSc in physics in 1988 at the Universite de Montreal, and later received his MSc and PhD (1997) from the same institution. For his doctoral research, Sylvain worked with Dr. Georges Michaud on the diffusion of metals in stellar atmospheres. Before arriving at Bishop’s in 2003, Sylvain was a postdoctoral fellow at the Theoretical Astrophysics Center (Denmark), the CEA-Saclay (France) and Lawrence Livermore Labs where he worked on the structure of 3-D hydrodynamic models of stars. He has currently been using the FLASH (nuclear-hydrodynamic) computer code to model the effects of the explosion of white dwarfs on their companion stars (Type Ia Supernovae).