• van_de_Moortel-Maxime

How did you become interested in math?
I was always fascinated by stars, planets, galaxies, and the universe's genesis, from as far as I can remember. When I first heard of General Relativity, I was ten, and it was a revelation. Only much later in life, perhaps only right before college, did I realize that the laws of nature were written in mathematical language, a language of incomparable beauty. I have since counted on mathematics to help me understand the universe.

As a student, did you do undergraduate research?
Yes! In fact, I decided to do research in Differential Equations after working on an undergraduate research project on chaos and dynamical systems. It’s only after this project I understood how powerful differential equations are to describe physical phenomena.

What are you researching?
My main research endeavor is to use differential equations to understand black holes. It's fantastic that these dense bodies, out of which light cannot escape, are both profound mathematical objects and an astrophysical reality that scientists observe every day! I work on the theoretical side and try to find an answer to the question of what's inside an astrophysical black hole using mathematical equations. As it turns out, we can prove rigorously theorems that demonstrate that inside a dynamical black hole lies a singularity! It shows that if you fall into a black hole, your fate will not be enviable, and you will end up being crushed or burned by this singularity. These singularities have drastic impact on how we think about spacetime and theoretical consequences we are just beginning to explore.

What are you excited about in joining Rutgers University?
Rutgers University is a world-class research institution, and its Mathematics Department has a top-level international reputation. It is very exciting to be doing research at Rutgers in such a vivid mathematical environment. What I particularly appreciate in the Rutgers community is the accessibility and open-mindedness of its members, which makes the exchange of ideas much easier. It is truly thrilling to have become a member of such a welcoming, tolerant, and diverse institution.

As a career, I hesitated between poetry and mathematics. Unlike the student of Hilbert in a famous story, I chose mathematics! It is essential to tell the younger generations that mathematics is beautiful and is there for everyone to enjoy, a little bit like poetry.