
Mihai Bondarescu
Caltech,
Los Angeles, USA
Institution web page:
http://www.caltech.edu
Personal web page:
http://www.tapir.caltech.edu/~mihai
Send email
Born:
1979
Interests:
general relativity, black holes, gravitational waves, differential geometry
Details:
As of today, December 30, year 2000 AD,
This page contains dreams. Just dreams.
Since ever, I wanted to do research in physics. Although this seemed to be just a dream in Romania, I did my best to make it come true. I followed the lectures of a very good high school, I participated every year in mathematics contests and won a lot of pries and honors, I learned special relativity and read a lot of undergraduate physics and, finally, at the end of high school besides my normal Baccalaureat diploma, I become a certified computer programmer (I had C/C++, Turbo Pascal, Fox Pro and Qbasic for 8 hours/week during entire high
school).
After high school, I applied and got admitted with fellowship to two universities in Romania: West University of Timisoara, Faculty of Physics and the Politechnical University of Timisoara, Faculty of Control engineering and Computer Science. I attended lectures at both of them as a fulltime student and I met the necessary conditions for getting a fellowship at both for three semesters. However, I got only one of the fellowships according to the Romanian law. Besides the undergraduate lectures I had to attend, I had the pleasure to follow two high level lectures in General Relativity delivered by prof. Dumitru Vulcanov in the Physics Department and two lectures in Differential Geometry delivered by prof. Mircea Puta in the Mathematics Department (these lectures were aimed to students in mathematics, not physics, but I found them very useful). During the first two years of college, I published together with Prof. Matei Stefan and Glita Sebastian (also student) a small book on mathematics aimed to 2nd year students in Computer Science and a small paper on special relativity in a Romanian Journal.
My dream of doing real research started to come true with a ERASMUS scholarship for Germany I won for completing the third year in physics there. In Germany, the first thing I did was to knock on Ed Seidel's door at the Max Planck Institute fuer Gravitationphysik (Albert Einstein Institute), Golm and ask him to allow me to do some research in his group and visit the library. He let me in and offered me a lot more than I asked. A few days later I was working in my office at A.E.I. on a real research project. The aim was to compute embeddings of black hole surfaces in flat space. At that time I could just dream that this what was going to be my diploma thesis at the Freie Universitat. The dream came true. This was really a great opportunity since German students start working on the thesis at the beginning of the 5th year or (usually) later and I was only a 3rd year student (A German diploma is roughly equivalent to a US Master). After completing the requirements for the thesis, I intend to put make the entire work public by submitting it to the Los Alamos Eprint Archive. Also I will submit it for publication to the printing house of the West University of Timisoara or to the Mirton Printing House. I hope in this way I will help the next generations of Romanian students that are going to write diplomas abroad. Personally, I would have been happy to read such a diploma before coming here. I could not find one. I hope they will.
Meanwhile I had to take lectures at the Freie Universitat Berlin. The requirements for the ERASMUS fellowship were to complete lectures for 30 ECTS credits each semester. The main problem was that all the lectures were in German and I have learned German only after I was appointed the fellowship, 6 months before coming to Germany. In spite of this, I completed 42 credit points in the 1st semester (36 at the Freie Universitat and 6 at A.E.I. Golm) and 41 in the 2nd. I took more lectures because I wanted to meet not only the requirements for the ERASMUS fellowship, but also the requirements for the German diploma. The lecture on "Particle and Fields" given by prof. Hagen Kleinert was not required by neither the ERASMUS program or for the German diploma. I took it because it provides a introduction at an advanced level in Quantum Field Theory. Although introductory, the lecture was really hard and only I and two more students were able to pass the course. Another valuable thing I have learned in Germany is the German language. Now, I can finally speak it! At the end of a diploma program, each student is required to take 4 exams and write a thesis. So far I took and passed three of the exams, two with 1 (A) and one with 1.3 (still A). I plan to submit the thesis in January, after submitting a paper to Physical Review D or Classical and Quantum Gravity and I hope to take the last exam in February. In the summer semester, I plan to continue doing research at the AEI with Ed Seidel and also take some more graduate level lectures in Quantum Field Theory at the Free University Berlin and String theory at the Humbold University. These lectures are not required for any degree program I am involved in. However, I expect the standards in your University to be very high and I expect to be well prepared before starting the Ph.D program there.
This is a summary of my past achievements. I hope to continue on the same way as a Ph.D. student. I want to continue the research in General Relativity I have started at the Max Planck Institute in Golm (Black hole perturbation theory, Computing wave forms for the gravitational wave detectors, numerical evolutions of black hole spacetimes). I also want to improve my understanding of Quantum Field Theory. I already took a lecture in the field at the Freie Universitat Berlin and I intend to take one more before starting my Ph.D. This is, however, not enough. I would be happy to take some more graduate lectures and do research in this field during my Ph.D.
I first discussed about applying to Caltech with Curt Cutler, a professor from the Max Plank Institute were I work who was Kip Thorne's student in Caltech. He encouraged me to apply for a Ph.D in USA and specially to Caltech. I took the final decision at the LISA Conference 2000 were I the pleasure to meet Kip Thorne. We spoke for five minutes in one of the brakes and afterwards we had dinner together. We discussed about my research project in Golm and about a little paper I've written just for fun and never published on the possibility to use the Hawking evaporation of very small black holes to power a spaceship. We also discussed about my plans for the future and he encouraged me to apply to Caltech. After the conference, Kip gaved me a book on Classical Physics he was working on. I enjoyed reading it and I send him a few comments about the book. I was surprised that Kip answered most of these mails. I also looked on the web page of his lecture on General Relativity and I printed and solved some of the problems. This is how I have learned about Caltech. I find the lectures very exiting and I hope one day I'll have the chance to take part in
them.
Selected publications:
• Mihai Bondarescu, Miguel Alcubierre, Edward Seidel. Isometric Embeddings of Black Hole Surfaces in Flat 3D Space. Classical And Quantum Gravity, 2001.
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