Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation has awarded one of the 2015 prizes for stimulating research to Gr@v Ph.D. student Pedro Cunha, distinguishing his work/project on black hole shadows. Congratulations Pedro!
Pedro Cunha did his undergraduate in Physics and M.Sc in Astrophysics, both at the University of Coimbra. His M.Sc. thesis was already done within Gr@v under the supervision of C. Herdeiro. Pedro is pursuing his Ph.D. studies at the University of Aveiro and IST-Lisbon.
His M.Sc. thesis focused on black hole shadows and lensing by compact relativistic objects known as boson stars. Pedro wrote a ray-tracing code that allows the computation of the shadows and lensing for quite generic space-times and applied it to a novel family of black holes known as Kerr black holes with scalar hair. The resulting shadows exhibit remarkable differences with respect to Kerr black holes, providing qualitatively novel templates for the ongoing observations of the Event Horizon Telescope. The latter is a network of instruments using Very Large Baseline Interferometry to determine the shadow of the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way and at the centre of the galaxy M87.
The results obtained in his M.Sc. thesis have been published in the prestigious Physical Review Letters, in collaboration with C. Herdeiro, E. Radu and H. Rúnarsson.