Aron Wall's Homepage

myself

2017

myself

2009
Born June 7th, 1984 to Gloria and Larry Wall (yes, that one), I am the second of four sibilings. In June 2012 I married my wife Nicole, who is a college writing instructor, quilter, and aspiring fantasy/sci-fi novelist.

I'm a theoretical physicist who works on black hole thermodynamics and quantum gravity. I want to know what ingredients space and time are made of, and how it is that a world like ours can emerge from them. My dissertation research confirmed that black holes obey the second law of thermodynamics. Since then, I have done a lot of work on the holographic principle, the idea that a gravitational system can be equivalent to a system with a lower number of spacetime dimensions.

Starting in the Spring of 2019, I will be a Lecturer at DAMTP at Cambridge University. (If you want to try to work with me as a student, I recommend that you apply to the Part III Tripos Masters program first. Unfortunately, I can't guarantee that you'll be able to do your Ph.D. with me, so you should only do this if you think you would benefit from the program either way.)

I'm also a Christian. That means that I believe that God loves everybody, including the person reading this right now—no matter what you look like; or what you've said, thought, or done. Instead of believing in karma (you get what you deserve), I believe in grace (giving freely without worrying about what people deserve). This means that it's my job to love other people like Jesus did, and to try to be holy like he is holy. Doubtless I've fallen short of this in many ways, and for that I ask you to please forgive me!

It also means that I'm willing to accept that sometimes we can best approach the truth by contemplating head-scratching paradoxes, like God combining three "persons" in one being, or Jesus sharing our human condition while also being fully one with the Father. If you're curious how it's possible to fit science and theology together, and why I think my beliefs are supported by good historical evidence, I've written a lot about that on my blog, Undivided Looking.

(The opinions I express on my blog or here are my own personal views, not that of the institutions I work for.)

Blog

Undivided Looking

Physics

An Introduction to Horizon Thermodynamics for Non-Physicists
3 blog posts on Quantum Mechanics

My Scientific Articles
A Survey of Black Hole Thermodynamics (review article for physicists).
Vidoes on Spacetime Thermodynamics aimed at grad students: Part I, Part II, and Part III.
(These lectures were given at the PiTP in 2018, based on an earlier, but slightly broader, course I taught at U Maryland.)

Slides for a talk I gave about Fine Tuning and its philosophical implications.

Education

B.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John's College (Santa Fe), a tiny liberal arts college in which all subjects are studied using primary sources and discussion classes. 2001-2005

Ph.D in Physics from University of Maryland, advisor Ted Jacobson. 2005-2011.

Postdoc Positions

UC Santa Barbara 2011-2014.
Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton 2014-2017.
Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics 2017-2019.

Games

The Card Game (Deutsch version)
Philosopher Cats

My Church

I grew up in New Life Church of the Nazarene and still attend when I'm in California.
Everyone is always welcome to come, regardless of what you currently believe!

Selected Essays

A Thick and Dreadful Darkness, sophomore year on the book of Job.
The Spirits who Dwell in Suspense, sophomore year on the Inferno.
The Poetic Secret of Fear and Trembling, my senior thesis.
God Needs More Enemies, published in St. John's school newspaper.
Can Religion be Based on Evidence?
Theology: Less Speculative than Quantum Gravity
The Pillars of Science, why science works so well as a way of discovering truths about the world.
Fundamental Reality, an exploration of metaphysics and the inherent plausibility of Monotheism. [epub version]
Consciousness and Falsifiability, will we ever be able to logically deduce consciousness from the laws of physics?
Are Bad Historians in Danger of Hellfire? about God's justice, and the role of belief in salvation.
Seeking Church Unity, about reconciliation between different kinds of Christians.
Some Comments on Biblical History, how historical is the Old Testament?
Is God allowed to update the Torah?, on the relation between Christianity and Judaism.
Darkness at Noon, the Gospels say the sun went dark during Jesus' crucifixion, but did anyone else see it?
Does the Atonement make ethical sense?, about the morality of Jesus suffering for our sins.

Bible Teaching

Sermons preached at New Life Church of the Nazarene.
Ways to Read the Bible
One Easy Way to Teach a Bible Study
Bible or Not? Can you distinguish the Bible from other scriptures?
A conversation about why God doesn't speak more clearly
Handouts for an Apsotles' Creed Discussion, with quotes from the Bible and Christian writers explaining each clause.

You can email me by using my first name, followed by my last name, followed by umd.edu (a***w***@umd.edu).