Máximo  Bañados

Máximo Bañados

Fellow: Awarded 2009

Field of Study: Physical Sciences

Competition: Latin America & Caribbean

With his first published article, Máximo Bañados established himself as an innovative, insightful physicist. “The Black Hole in Three-Dimensional Space-Time,” written with Claudio Bunster [Teitelboim] and Jorge Zanelli and published in Physical Review Letters (69 [1992], 1849), convinced many physicists that Einstein equations in three dimensions do accept black holes. A few months later he and his coauthors had the opportunity to collaborate with Marc Henneaux from the Free University of Brussels on further research that confirmed the findings of that first, landmark paper. Their research was presented in “Geometry of the (2+1) black hole,” published in Physical Review D (48 [1993], 1506). Perhaps more important for Mr. Bañados, the collaboration was his initiation into the international physics community.

Mr. Bañados received his undergraduate degree (1987) and Ph.D. (1993) in physics from the University of Chile. On earning his Ph.D., and after the success of his 1992 and 1993 papers, he won a year-long postdoctoral research Fellowship to join Tom Kibble’s Theory Group at Imperial College in London. When he returned to Chile in 1994, he took up a second postdoctoral Fellowship, this time at the Centro de Estudios Cientificos in Santiago, where he immersed himself in mathematical physics, becoming an expert in Chern-Simons theory. He continued to expand his fields of expertise during two subsequent postdoctoral Fellowships, at the University of Santiago (1996-98) and the University of Zaragoza in Spain (1998-99), during which time he developed a keen interest in String theory. His international collaborations also continued, resulting in a number of articles coauthored with, among others, Stefan Theisen, from the Albert Einstein-Max Planck Institute in Germany, and Adam Schwimmer, from the Weizmann Institute in Israel.

About the time he took up a position as Assistant Professor at the Pontifical Catholic University (PUC) of Chile in 2000, he also began to explore the fields of observable physics, astronomy, and dark matter and dark energy. He eventually realized that his deep understanding of Chern-Simons theory and topological theories may have important applications to the problems of dark matter and dark energy. Among the most important publications resulting from these cross-field researches was “Eddington-Born-Infeld gravity and the large scale structure of the Universe,” which he coauthored with P. Ferreira of Oxford University and C. Skordis of the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Canada, published in Physical Review D in 2009 (volume 79, issue 6).

During his Guggenheim Fellowship term, Máximo Bañados will be taking a sabbatical from PUC to continue his research on his theories about dark matter as part of the Astrophysics Group at Oxford University.