Prize Recipient

William East
Princeton University


"For masterful explorations in numerical gravity, including the first study of dynamical capture black hole / neutron star mergers, the ultrarelatistic collision problem, and development of a new algorithm to explore tidal disruption of stars by supermassive black holes."


William East graduated from Stanford University in 2008 with a bachelor degree in mathematics and physics. The same year, he enrolled in the physics Ph.D. program at Princeton University, supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship. Under the supervision of Prof. Frans Pretorius, he researched numerical methods for simulating hydrodynamics coupled to Einstein gravity and applied them to a range of topics including eccentric black hole/neutron star mergers, tidal disruption events, and black hole formation in ultrarelativistic collisions. While at Princeton, William was awarded the Ray Grimm Memorial Prize in Computational Physics.

After earning his Ph.D. in 2013, William joined Stanford's Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology where he is currently a postdoctoral fellow. He continues to research black hole dynamics, compact object mergers, and other areas at the intersection of astrophysics and strong-field gravity.