Prize Recipient

Recipient Picture

Frans Pretorius
California Institute of Technology



For innovative developments in numerical relativity including adaptive mesh refinement techniques, black hole excision methods and visualization software for the community.



Frans Pretorius was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He completed his undergraduate degree in computer engineering at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, in 1996. He started his graduate studies at the same institute, and completed a Master of Science in 1999 under the supervision of Werner Israel, with a thesis entitled "Topics in Black Hole Physics". Frans obtained his Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, in 2002. His thesis work, supervised by Matthew Choptuik, was on numerical simulations of gravitational collapse, and included studies of critical phenomena observed at the threshold of black hole formation, and head-on black hole collisions. This work required the extension of existing adaptive mesh refinement and black hole excision techniques to solve systems of nonlinear, coupled, elliptic and hyperbolic partial differential equations. While at UBC, Frans was awarded an Izaak Walton Killam predoctoral scholarship.

After completing his Ph.D., Frans moved to the California Institute of Technology as a Richard Chase Tolman postdoctoral prize fellow. There, he continues to do research in numerical relativity, focusing on black hole physics and the related numerical tools and computational infrastructure required to solve such problems.

Selection Committee:

David Ceperley (Chair), Bruce Boghosian (Vice Chair), James Rice, Robert Rosner, Doug Toussaint