UH Professor invited to spend next three summers as Scholar with Internationally Renowned Physics Institute

Carlos Ordóñez Named a Scholar with Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics

University of Houston Associate Professor of Physics Carlos Ordóñez has been named a 2006-2008 scholar with the internationally renowned Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP) at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

One of the top institutes of its kind in the world, the Kavli Institute brings together diverse groups of theoretical physicists and other scientists to do research in areas that encompass particle and nuclear physics, astrophysics and cosmology, condensed-matter physics, atomic and molecular physics, mathematical physics, and emerging interdisciplinary fields such as biophysics, neurophysics, nanoscience, etc.

Only about a handful of scientists from around the United States are invited every year to be a KITP Scholar.

As a KITP scholar, Ordóñez is invited to visit the facility in several one- to two-week trips for three consecutive summers, taking part in the institute's workshops and conferences, which feature some of the world's leading scientists addressing questions that lie at the very frontier of fundamental knowledge.

Ordóñez will have the opportunity to pursue his research in theoretical high-energy physics, which is the study of the interaction of the smallest constituents of matter.

Specifically, Ordóñez is interested in the thermodynamics of black holes-gravitating objects whose gravitational fields are so strong that light cannot escape-and how the standard approaches to black holes connect with string theory.

"Black holes are mysterious, and scientists want to connect them with string theory to understand them," said Ordóñez. "String theory is a theory of gravity, instead of thinking of particles as mathematical points, you think of them as tiny strings. Strings unify all interactions and naturally contain quantum gravity as no particle theory does."

"String theory can help scientists understand the dynamics of black holes by providing a consistent mathematical framework to calculate quantities, such as entropy with robustness, which other theories lack. Another exciting area of research is holography, or the accumulation of information on the black hole event horizon. String theory also accommodates this naturally via the use of duality, one of the key symmetries in the description of string interactions."

"Going to the Kavli Institute will be a way for me to reconnect with the forefront of theoretical physics; it will give me and the University of Houston more visibility in this community. I will make sure this exposure will directly benefit my graduate students and postdoctoral fellows as well," Ordóñez said.

Ordóñez joined UH in 1997. He received his PhD from the University of Texas.