Email Address: petters@math.duke.edu
Web Page: http://www.math.duke.edu/~petters
Specialties:
Mathematical Physics
Geometry
Probability
Education:
Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1991
B.A., CUNY Hunter College, 1986
M.A., CUNY Hunter College, 1986
Research Categories: Gravitational Lensing, General Relativity, and Cosmology
Research Description: I develop physically based mathematical theories of gravitational lensing (light deflection by gravitational fields) in a variety of astrophysical contexts and investigate the observational consequences of the associated theorems. I am currently researching flux ratio anomalies with applications to the nature of dark matter and exploring relativistic gravitational lensing with applications to supermassive black holes. One of my goals is to emphasize the stable and generic features of lensing, drawing conclusions essentially independent of the oversimplifying approximations of a chosen lens system model. At the same time, I also analyze in depth specific physically realistic models having predictive power. The mathematical tools employed draw upon the theory of singularities, differential geometry, and probability theory. My research involves collaborations with astrophysicists, mathematicians, and physicists.
Teaching (Fall 2015):
Recent Publications (More Publications)
Highlight:
My current research in mathematical physics is on gravitational lensing, which is the study of how gravity acts on light. In particular, I utilizing weak and strong deflection gravitational lensing to characterize the geometry of spacetime around black holes, test theories of gravity, and probe
the nature of dark matter on galactic scales.
I employ tools from astrophysics, cosmology, general relativity, high energy physics, and a variety of mathematical fields
(e.g., differential geometry, singularities, and probability theory).
A mathematical theory of gravitational lensing is presented in the
monograph:
Singularity Theory and Gravitational Lensing
(A. O. Petters, H. Levine, and J. Wamsbganss).
Two layman articles about my research are at:
Ripple Effect
(Scott Huler).
Prescription lens brings spinning black holes into focus
(Ashley Yeager).
By current business administration activities are three-fold. First, I am co-authoring a text on Mathematical Finance with Xiaoying Dong, who is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in our department and a trader for over 20 years. This book is aimed at first year graduate students from mathematics, economics, physics, computer science, and engineering. Second, at Duke's Fuqua School of Business I supervise the finance concentration research projects of Executive M.B.A. students. These projects cover a variety of topics: company valuations, derivatives, portfolio theory, mergers and acquisitions, etc.
Third, I am involved with sustainable business and environmentally friendly applications of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in a developing-world setting that integrates education and entrepreneurship. These efforts are being piloted in Belize in collaboration with the Petters Research Institute and through my appointment with Fuqua. The overall goal is to research innovative ways to help drive national development through applications of STEM tools.