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Abhay Ashtekar

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Nationality  Indian
Role  Physicist
Fields  Loop Quantum Gravity
Known for  Quantum loop gravity
Doctoral advisor  Robert Geroch
Name  Abhay Ashtekar

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Born  July 5, 1949 (age 66) Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India (1949-07-05)
Institutions  Pennsylvania State University
Alma mater  University of Texas, Austin; University of Chicago
Notable awards  First Gravity Prize by the Gravity Research Foundation, Massachusetts
Books  Asymptotic quantization, Lectures on Non-perturbative Canonical Gravity
Education  University of Chicago, University of Texas at Austin
Similar People  Carlo Rovelli, Lee Smolin, Martin Bojowald, Thomas Thiemann, John Stachel

Residence  United States of America

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Abhay Vasant Ashtekar (born July 5, 1949) is an Indian theoretical physicist. He is the Eberly Professor of Physics and the Director of the Institute for Gravitational Physics and Geometry at Pennsylvania State University. As the creator of Ashtekar variables, he is one of the founders of loop quantum gravity and its subfield loop quantum cosmology. He has also written a number of descriptions of loop quantum gravity that are accessible to non-physicists. In 1999, Ashtekar and his colleagues were able to calculate the entropy for a black hole, matching a legendary 1974 prediction by Hawking. Oxford mathematical physicist Roger Penrose has described Ashtekar's approach to quantum gravity as "The most important of all the attempts at 'quantizing' general relativity." Ashtekar was elected as Member to National Academy of Sciences in May 2016.


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Abhay Ashtekar grew up in several cities, including Mumbai, in the state of Maharashtra, India. After completing his undergraduate education in India, Ashtekar enrolled in the graduate program for gravitation at the University of Texas at Austin. He went on to complete his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago under the supervision of Robert Geroch in 1978 and held several appointments at Oxford, Paris, Syracuse before settling at Penn State.

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He married Christine Clarke in 1986 and the two have a son, Neil Ashtekar.

Religious views

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Dr. Abhay Ashtekar is an atheist, though he enjoys reading on Indian and other eastern philosophy, namely the Tao and the Zen traditions. Furthermore, he claims to be inspired from the Bhagwat Gita as regards his attitude towards work.


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  1. A. Magnon and A. Ashtekar, Translation from French of √Člie Cartan's work, "Sur les Varietes a Connexion Affine et la Relativite Generale" with a Commentary and Foreword by A. Trautman, Bibliopolis, Naples, 1986, 199 pages.
  2. A. Ashtekar, Asymptotic Quantization. Bibliopolis, Naples, 1987, 107 pages.
  3. A. Ashtekar, (with invited contributions) New Perspectives in Canonical Gravity. Bibliopolis, Naples, 1988, 324 pages.
  4. A. Ashtekar and J. Stachel, Editors; Conceptual Problems of Quantum Gravity. Proceedings of the 1988 Osgood Hill Conference (Birkhauser, N. Y., 1991), 602 pages.
  5. A. Ashtekar, Lectures on Non-perturbative Canonical Gravity, (Notes prepared in collaboration with R.S. Tate), (World Scientific Singapore, 1991), 334 pages.
  6. A. Ashtekar, R.C. Cohen, D. Howard, J. Renn, S. Sarkar and A. Shimony (Editors), Revisiting the Foundations of Relativistic Physics, Festschrift in honor of John Stachel, Boston Studies in Philosophy of Science, Volume 234, (Kluwer Academic, 2003).

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