Gustav Holzegel

2019 United Kingdom Award Finalist — Faculty

Gustav Holzegel

Current Position:
Professor of Pure Mathematics

Imperial College London

Applied Mathematics

Recognized for: Developing rigorous proof of a decades-old conjecture about the stability of black holes.

Areas of Research Interest and Expertise: Partial Differential Equations, General Relativity

Gustav Holzegel


Diplom (BSc), University of Kaiserslautern, Germany
PhD, University of Cambridge (Advisors: Prof. Gary W. Gibbons and Prof. Mihalis Dafermos)
Instructor and Assistant Professor, Princeton University, USA

Prof. Gustav Holzegel is a mathematician whose work has had a profound influence in the fields of theoretical physics and astrophysics. He uses powerful mathematical tools, namely, geometric analysis and partial differential equations, to solve long-standing problems associated with Einstein's theory of general relativity. In particular, he has made major breakthroughs in addressing the black hole stability conjecture, a well-known question asking what happens after a massive black hole is shaken (or "perturbed"). The conjecture predicted that the black hole finally settles down into a stable form like the one it began with. This intuitive description remained unproven for many decades, even for the simplest black hole - one with a spherical shape and without rotations or net electric charges. In 2016 Prof. Holzegel and his collaborators first proved a linearized version of the conjecture for the simplest black hole. Through follow-up work he has led the scientific community to arrive at the threshold of a complete solution to the black hole stability conjecture under more generalized conditions, which account for all complicated types of black holes. He has also produced a series of foundational papers on the stability of solutions to the Einstein equations that have important implications in string theory and particle physics. Prof. Holzegel has pushed the frontiers of our understanding in the universe as outlined by the general relativity theory.

"I am delighted to receive this prize and I would like to thank my collaborators without whom this would not have been possible."

Key Publications:

  1. M. Dafermos, G. Holzegel and I. Rodnianski. The linear stability of the Schwarzschild solution to gravitational perturbations. arXiv, 2016.

  2. G. Holzegel. Conservation laws and flux bounds for gravitational perturbations of the Schwarzschild metric. Class. Quant. Grav, 2016.

  3. G. Holzegel, J. Smulevici. Quasimodes and a lower bound on the uniform energy decay rate for Kerr-AdS spacetimes. Analysis & PDE, 2014.

  4. G. Holzegel, J. Smulevici. Decay properties of Klein-Gordon fields on Kerr-AdS Spacetimes. Comm. Pure Appl. Math., 2013.

Other Honors:

2018Consolidator Grant, European Research Council (ERC)
2018Adams Prize, University of Cambridge
2016Whitehead Prize, London Mathematical Society
2013Starting Grant, European Research Council (ERC)


In the Media:

Imperial College London - Two Imperial academics awarded the Adams Prize

Imperial College London - New wave of European Research Council grants won by Imperial researchers

London Mathematical Society - LMS Prize Winners 2016