Pappalardo Fellows

Pappalardo Fellow in Physics: 2013-2016

Bob Penna

Name: Robert Penna

Title(s): Pappalardo Fellow in Physics: 2013-2016

Email: rpenna@MIT.EDU

Phone: (617) 253-5084


Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue, Bldg. 37-673
Cambridge, MA 02139

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Area of Physics:

Theoretical Astrophysics

Research Interests

Bob Penna is interested in general relativity, magnetohydrodynamics, and their astrophysical applications. He studies the accretion of turbulent, magnetized gas onto spinning black holes. He has investigated how the accretion flow's luminosity depends on black hole spin, gas temperature, magnetic field topology, and other variables. This work provides theoretical support for black hole spin measurements. Currently, Bob is interested in using astrophysics to test new ideas about black holes and general relativity.

Biographical Sketch

Bob Penna completed his Ph.D. at Harvard University with advisor Ramesh Narayan. He studied math and physics at the University of Rochester and completed Part III maths at the University of Cambridge. He is from Eden, NY.

Selected Publications

  • R.F. Penna, A. Sadowski, A.K. Kulkarni, R. Narayan, "The Shakura-Sunyaev viscosity prescription with variable alpha(r)," MNRAS 428 3 2255 (2013).
  • R.F. Penna, A. Sadowski, J.C. McKinney, "Thin disk theory with a non-zero torque boundary condition and comparisons with simulations," MNRAS 420 1 684 (2012).
  • R.F. Penna, J.C. McKinney, R. Narayan, A. Tchekhovskoy, R. Shafee, J.E. McClintock, "Simulations of magnetized discs around black holes: effects of black hole spin, disc thickness and magnetic field geometry," MNRAS 408 2 752 (2010).

Last updated on March 3, 2014 11:14 AM