International Conference on General Relativity and Gravitation Attracts UKZN AcademicsGeneral

At the Conference in the United States are UKZN representatives (from left):  Dr Pedro Mafa-Takisa, Dr Sudan Hansraj, Dr Byron Brassel, Professor Sunil Maharaj and Dr Gezahegn Abebe.At the Conference in the United States are UKZN representatives (from left): Dr Pedro Mafa-Takisa, Dr Sudan Hansraj, Dr Byron Brassel, Professor Sunil Maharaj and Dr Gezahegn Abebe.

The Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit (ACRU) in the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science sent a representative delegation to the 21st International Conference on General Relativity and Gravitation at Columbia University in the United States. 

Led by the Unit’s Director, Professor Sunil Maharaj, who is the SARChI Chair in Gravitating Systems at UKZN, a contingent of doctoral students, post-doctoral fellows and academics attended and participated. 

Post-doctoral Fellow Dr Gezahegn Zewdie Abebe gave a talk on: “A Group Theoretic Approach to Shear-Free Radiating Stars”, and also presented a poster on separable metrics and radiating stars.  Another doctoral student, Rakesh Mohanlal, displayed a poster focusing on radiating stars with exponential lie symmetries. 

Post-doctoral Fellow Dr Pedro Mafa-Takisa spoke on: “Stellar Objects in the Quadratic Regime”, while colleague, Dr Byron Brassel, presented a poster on dynamical radiating stars with equations of state. 

ACRU academics were impressed by the high standard of presentations by UKZN students and post-doctoral fellows. 

UKZN staff member Dr Rivendra Narain displayed his poster which focused on stellar models generated via the horizon function; academic leader of Mathematics Dr Sudan Hansraj gave a talk on: “Compact Objects in Lovelock Gravity Theory”, and Professor Subharthi Ray participated in the scientific activities and provided moral support, particularly to the students and fellows.  

The Conference - the premier gathering in this field - attracts some of the biggest names in this research area with about 1 000 scientists attending this year from around the world. 

A highlight of the Conference was awarding a special prize to the team which discovered Gravitational Waves (a long-standing prediction of Einstein) during February 2016. 

‘Our participants spoke with confidence, handled questions with ease and overall secured important kudos for UKZN,’ said Maharaj.   

Sudan Hansraj