Alpha Chi Research Spotlight: Michael Ramsey

Alpha Chi Research Spotlight
All around the country, Alpha Chi members are producing extraordinary scholarship across disciplines. We’ll be spotlighting some of their most compelling research projects in the coming months. Let their work be your inspiration.

Name: Michael Ramsey
Institution: Long Island University – Brooklyn
Class Year: Class of 2018

Q: What is the title of your project?
A: “Energy Extraction from Black Holes by Cosmic Strings”

Q: What was your research question?
A: The question that sparked this project is: Is there a better way to observe and prove the existence of cosmic strings? Many physicists have tried unsuccessfully to observe and/or detect cosmic strings, and to this day, cosmic strings still remain unobserved and undetected. However, Dr. Matt Lippert, Dr. Mike Kavic, and I proposed a method to detect cosmic strings by using an indirect method of observing a Pulsar-Black Hole Binary System with extremely precise pulsar observations. If a cosmic string is interacting with a rotating black hole, we would expect the cosmic string to be extracting energy from the black hole. If a pulsar is in binary orbit with the black hole, we would be able to see changes of the pulsar’s orbit due to the loss of black hole energy and gravitational pull.

Q: What did you learn?
A: Our research is not yet complete, but our computations show that in the search for cosmic strings, our proposed method has the ability to have a range 13 times more sensitive than LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory), the device which made the first ever detection of a gravitational wave.

Q: Why does it matter?
A: Proving the existence of cosmic strings would be a huge discovery in the field of Physics. It would allow us to understand a lot more about the nature and evolution of the Universe, as cosmic strings are thought to have formed in the early stages following the Big Bang. The discovery would be truly groundbreaking and add another piece to the complicated puzzle of the Universe.

Q: What’s next?
A: Our research is still ongoing work, and we hope to make significant strides throughout this year. I intend to continue to work on this project in the fall when I enroll in a doctoral program with a concentration in NeuroPhysics.