Hello, my name is Vojtěch Witzany and I am a physicist working on the theory and phenomenology of black holes. Currently (from Jan 2023), I am a Primus group leader at the Institute of Theoretical Physics at Charles University in Prague. Please enjoy the assortment of links and trivia related to my person below.
I will be hiring a PhD student to start in September 2023 in Prague: https://www.mff.cuni.cz/en/physicsphd/f1/phd-projects-funding/new-horizons-in-back-reaction
Roughly speaking, much of my research could be summarized as attempting to answer the question "How do things move near black holes?". However what these "things" are can vary quite a bit, though. They can be speckles of dust, other black holes, neutron stars, "ordinary" stars, or even clouds of magnetized plasma orbiting the black holes in accretion disks. The fields of the black holes in which the dynamics are happening can be isolated, rotating, non-rotating, but they can also be perturbed by the presence of matter. To answer how all these things move in the black hole fields, I use advanced mathematical techniques and numerical simulations.
2-year postdoc in the Relativistic Astrophysics group at the Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of sciences (2018-2020).
2-year Marie Skłodowska–Curie fellowship at the Relativity group at University College Dublin (2020-2022).
Longer (2+ months) visits at University of Bonn, Max-Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Potsdam-Golm, and University of Southampton.
Currently (From January 2023) Primus fellow at the Institute of Theoretical Physics, Charles University, Prague.
Other info in my academic CV (Last updated Dec. '21).
I like talking about science from a generalist point of view. I think it brings something to the people who listen but also forces me to take on fresh perspectives.
My other miscellaneous outreach writing includes:
Nobelova cena za rok 2020: V centru naší galaxie je cosi temného a těžkého (Nobel Prize 2020: Something dark and heavy lurks in the centre of our galaxy), Pokroky matematiky, fyziky a astronomie 66/4 (2021).
On the half of the 2020 Nobel prize in Physics awarded to Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez for the observations of the galactic centre black hole
Od rtuťového podkladu k černým dírám (From a mercury base to black holes), Universum 3/2019, p. 24.
On the history of relativity from the Michelson & Morley experiment to modern observations
Series of texts about String Theory (2013/14), written in Czech with Miroslav Rapčák for the high-schooler Physics correspondence seminar of the Charles University
Series of texts about dynamical systems and Chaos theory (2014/15), written in Czech for the high-schooler Physics correspondence seminar of the Charles University
You will find my most recent publications by searching me on ArXiv or checking my Google Scholar profile.
Here is a list updated in December 2021 (only my 11 published peer-reviewed works are listed in reverse chronological order, conference proceedings and preprints are left out):
Lukes-Gerakopoulos G., Witzany V. (2021)
Nonlinear Effects in EMRI Dynamics and Their Imprints on Gravitational Waves.
In: Bambi C., Katsanevas S., Kokkotas K.D. (eds) Handbook of Gravitational Wave Astronomy. Springer, Singapore. arXiv:2103.06724
Description: A referential chapter on the non-linear transitions that may occur during gravitational-wave inspirals around the so-called resonances.
Suková, P., Zajaček, M., Witzany, V., & Karas, V. (2021).
Stellar transits across a magnetized accretion torus as a mechanism for plasmoid ejection.
ApJ 917 43. arXiv:2102.08135
Description: Simulations of a star or a compact object passing through an accretion disk around a black hole. The star's passages through the disk gradually cause the disk to flicker at the same frequency as its orbital frequency. Also, blobs of matter are sometimes launched along the rotation axis of the black hole. All of this is linked to possible existing observations.
Zelenka, O., Lukes-Gerakopoulos, G., Witzany, V., & Kopáček, O. (2020).
Growth of resonances and chaos for a spinning test particle in the Schwarzschild background.
Phys. Rev. D, 101(2), 024037. arXiv:1911.00414
Description: Numerical integration of the orbits of spinning bodies near non-rotating black holes. Quantitative analysis of chaos in the motion and the rate at which it emerges. Implies that corresponding gravitational-wave sources for LISA do not require the modelling of chaotic phenomena.
Witzany, V. (2019).
Hamilton-Jacobi equation for spinning particles near black holes.
Phys. Rev. D 100.10. arXiv:1903.03651
Description: Breakthrough in the description of spinning bodies near black holes. Problem of motion of spinning body near black hole recast in novel mathematical form and analytically solved.
20 authors (Vitor Cardoso and Vojtěch Witzany acting as principal coordinators) (2021).
Probing the nature of black holes: deep in the mHz gravitational-wave sky.
Exp. Astron. 51, 1385–1416. arXiv:1908.11390
Description: A scientific white paper submitted to the ESA Voyage 2050 call. Initiated by the LISA consortium, describes the science case for a technologically superior follow-on mission for the LISA detector.
Witzany, V., Steinhoff, J., & Lukes-Gerakopoulos, G. (2019).
Hamiltonians and canonical coordinates for spinning particles in curved space-time.
Class. Quantum Grav. 36 075003. arXiv:1808.06582
Description: An improved theoretical framework for spinning bodies in strong gravitational fields along with a numerical evolution scheme with unprecedented efficiency.
Witzany, V., & Jefremow, P. (2018).
New closed analytical solutions for geometrically thick fluid tori around black holes: Numerical evolution and the onset of the magneto-rotational instability.
Astron. Astrophys. 614 (2018): A75. arXiv:1711.09241
Description: New idealized accretion disk solutions that will be used as initial data for astrophysical simulations. Demonstration of properties in a set of numerical simulations.
Witzany, V. (2017).
Exploiting the hidden symmetry of spinning black holes: conservation laws and numerical tests.
Mon. Notices Royal Astron. Soc., 473(2), 2434-2440. arXiv:1709.03330
Description: New conservation laws for the evolution of matter near black holes, useful for testing state-of-the-art astrophysical simulations. Demonstration of properties in a numerical study.
Markakis, C., Uryu, K., Gourgoulhon, E., Nicolas, J. P., Andersson, N., Pouri, A., & Witzany, V. (2017).
Conservation laws and evolution schemes in geodesic, hydrodynamic, and magnetohydrodynamic flows.
Phys. Rev. D, 96(6), 064019. arXiv:1612.09308
Description: Simplified proofs and derivations of conservation laws for magnetised plasmas in strong gravitational fields. Improved evolution scheme for neutron-star simulations.
Witzany, V., & Lämmerzahl, C. (2017).
Pseudo-Newtonian Equations for Evolution of Particles and Fluids in Stationary Space-times.
Astrophys. J., 841(105), 14pp. arXiv:1601.01034
Description: Effective scheme for evolution of accretion disks near black holes within existing Newtonian codes.
Witzany, V., Semerák, O., & Suková, P. (2015).
Free motion around black holes with discs or rings: between integrability and chaos–IV.
Mon. Notices Royal Astron. Soc., 451(2), 1770-1794. arXiv:1503.09077
Description: Study of the influence of gravitational perturbations on the motion of bodies near black holes. Comparison with various effective Newtonian models of black holes.