Luis Lehner



  • Fellow
  • Gravity & the Extreme Universe


  • Perimeter Institute


PhD (Physics), University of Pittsburgh


Luis Lehner is a physicist who focuses on understanding strongly gravitating systems, both in standard four-dimensional spacetimes and in higher-dimensional ones.

In four dimensions, systems containing black holes and neutron stars play a central role as drivers of spectacular phenomena such as AGN and gamma-ray bursters, and the generation of gravitational waves strong enough to be detected by Earth- and space-based facilities. The detection of these gravitational waves will enable scientists to infer important properties of their sources, by comparing the measured signals with those predicted by theoretical models.

Obtaining these models is a formidable challenge, and in many situations can only be done via numerical simulations. In higher-dimensional scenarios, understanding gravitational effects may shed light on the classical limit of prospective theories of gravity. Again, in many scenarios this requires numerical simulations.

Lehner’s work concentrates on obtaining these simulations, which requires work at the analytical and computational levels, and on extracting sought-after information from them. Research in this area is referred to as numerical relativity (NR), and is currently pushing the boundaries of analytical and numerical capabilities, and those of the largest available computational resources.


Member of the Scientific Council of the ICTP South American Institute for Fundamental Research (ICTP–SAIFR), 2015 to present

Fellow of the International Society of General Relativity and Gravitation, 2013

Fellow of the American Physical Society, 2009

Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, 2002

Nicholas Metropolis Award, American Physical Society, 1999

Relevant Publications

Lehner, L., and F. Pretorius. "Numerical Relativity and Astrophysics." Ann. Rev. Astron. Astr. 52 (August 2014): 661–94.

Yang, H. et al. "Turbulent Black Holes." Phys. Rev. Lett. 114 (February 2015): 081101.

Palenzuela, C. et al. "Electromagnetic and Gravitational Outputs from Binary-Neutron-Star Coalescence." Phys. Rev. Lett. 111 (August 2013): 061105.

Lehner, L., and F. Pretorisu. "Black Strings, Low Viscosity Fluids, and Violation of Cosmic Censorship." Phys. Rev. Lett. 105 (September 2010): 101102.

Palenzuela, C. et al. "Dual Jets from Binary Black Holes." Science 329, no. 5994 (August 2010): 927–30.