Matt Visser: Research

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Workshop: Analog models for General Relativity




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Matt Visser

Professor of Mathematics
School of Mathematics and Computer Science
Victoria University
PO Box 600
New Zealand
Mailbox E-mail:
Voice: 64-4-463-5115
Department: 64-4-463-5341
FAX: 64-4-463-5045


Research Interests
I am Professor of Mathematics at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

My research interests include:
  1. Casimir effect.
  2. Renormalization group.
  3. Cosmological constant.
  4. Sonoluminescence.
  5. Energy conditions in general relativity.
  6. Quantum aspects of black holes.
  7. The acoustic analog for general relativity.
  8. Stochastic field theories.
  9. Submanifold variants of Kaluza-Klein theory.

I am currently actively engaged in several major ongoing research projects:
  1. Energy conditions in semi-classical quantum gravity.
    (Classical gravitational fields polarize the quantum-field-theoretic vacuum and lead to wholesale quantum violations of the various energy conditions; worse, some quite reasonable looking classical filed theories also violate all the energy conditions.)
  2. Our universe as a membrane in higher-dimensional spacetime.
    (This is a recently resurrected idea wherein our universe is viewed as a submanifold of higher-dimensional spacetime; the most recent variants of this idea are inspired by brane theory, but the history is much more complex and some of the older variants are still of interest in their own right.)
  3. Analog gravity.
    (Doing experiments with real gravity is extremely difficult; and doing experiments with real black holes is possibly inadvisable --- so a lot of work has recently gone into the idea of mimicking gravity by using condensed matter analogues. You won't reproduce gravity completely, but it looks like you can do enough to be very interesting.)

I have written a full-fledged technical book on wormhole physics:

Lorentzian Wormholes---from Einstein to Hawking

I have appeared in a BBC Documentary in the Horizon series [2 December 1996]:
This was recently re-broadcast in the US as part of the PBS NOVA series [12 October 1999]:

Horizon: The Time Lords [NOVA: Time Travel]

Some graphics from my research

Specialist information about physics:

Los Alamos Archives:
Stanford Bibliographic Database (SPIRES):

Kiwi Physicists abroad:

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Some ex-patriate New Zealanders:

Exit routes:

To my personal homepage
To my standardized departmental homepage
To the Mathematics Department Page