Dr. Hector Okada da SilvaSenior Scientist/Leibniz Fellow
My research focuses on the physics of compact objects as laboratories to probe the strong-field regime of gravity. In particular, I am interested in tests of general relativity and modifications to it (as motivated, e.g., by the dark energy problem or low-energy limits of grand unification theories).
In the past years I have explored the properties of compact objects (i.e. neutron stars and black holes) in various modifications to Einstein’s theory; developed theory-independent formalisms to perform strong-field tests of gravity (one using neutron star observables and another using the quasinormal mode spectra of black holes); placed constraints on modified theories of gravity with gravitational wave observations and developed realistic models for the radiation emission by rotating neutron stars in scalar-tensor theories of gravity. I have also worked on equation-of-state independent relations between neutron star properties and how these relations can be used to test general relativity and modifications thereof.
Here are links to my publications: from INSPIRE, and from the ADS database.
I am originally from Brazil, where I obtained my Bachelors (2009) and Masters (2011) degrees in Physics from the Universidade Federal do Pará, under supervision of Prof. Danilo T. Alves. After moving to the USA, I obtained my PhD in physics in 2017 from the University of Mississippi working under the supervision of Prof. Emanuele Berti. I worked on various aspects of compact objects in General Relativity and beyond. Between 2017 and 2020 I worked as a postdoc under the supervision of Prof. Nicolás Yunes, first at Montana State University and then at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. During this period I continued my research on tests of General Relativity in the strong-field regime and also explored topics related to neutron star astrophysics. In November 2020 I joined Prof. Alessandra Buonanno’s department at the AEI where I continue research on these topics.