Frans Pretorius’ research interests are focused on the theory of general relativity and its applications to astrophysics and cosmology. In 2005, he solved one of the fundamental problems in Einstein's theory of general relativity, the collision of two black holes, which for decades was regarded as unsolvable. Dr. Pretorius developed a novel mathematical reformulation of Einstein’s equations, created the necessary computational infrastructure, and obtained a numerical solution for this problem. His other major contribution relevant to both relativity and particle physics is describing the instability of the so-called black string, a higher dimensional analogue of a black hole.
Dr. Pretorius’ current research includes modeling sources of gravitational wave emission, such as the merger of binary compact objects, e.g., binary black holes, neutron stars, or black hole – neutron star systems. In theoretical physics, Pretorius studies gravitational collapse, ultra-relativistic particle collisions, higher dimensional black holes, spacetime singularities, and general relativistic applications of the gauge/gravity duality of string theory.
Among his honours, in 2007, Dr. Pretorius was awarded a Sloan Research Fellowship and was the 2010 recipient of the Aneesur Rahman Prize for Computational Physics of the American Physical Society. He is also a Scholar in the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) Cosmology and Gravity program.