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Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Mississippi

Dr. Nathan Johnson-McDaniel

Photo of Dr. Johnson-McDaniel

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Office: 126 Lewis Hall
Phone: (662) 915-5252

Degrees Earned

  • Ph.D. in Physics from The Pennsylvania State University (2011)
  • B.S. in Physics and Astronomy from The University of Georgia (2006)
  • B.MUS. in Music Performance (violin) from The University of Georgia (2006)


  • Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge (2017-2020)
  • Airbus Prize Postdoctoral Fellow at the International Centre for Theoretical Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (2014-2017)
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Theoretical Physics Institute, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena (2011-2014)

Research Interests

Dr. Johnson-McDaniel’s primary research interests are in strong gravity and relativistic astrophysics, mostly involving gravitational waves, specifically the interplay between the modeling of gravitational wave sources and the analysis of data from current and future gravitational wave detectors to learn about astrophysics and test whether general relativity is our best description of strong gravity. This involves everything from large-scale computations (for simulations or data analysis) to pencil and paper work. The systems considered these days are mostly binaries of neutron stars and/or black holes, but Dr. Johnson-McDaniel has also worked on modeling isolated neutron stars as sources of gravitational waves. Dr. Johnson-McDaniel is a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and co-chair of the Testing GR subgroup, and is also a member of the Cosmic Explorer Consortium and the Einstein Telescope Observational Science Board.

Selected Publications (non-LIGO)

  • NKJ-M, S. Kulkarni, and A. Gupta, Inferring spin tilts at formation from gravitational wave observations of binary black holes: Interfacing precession-averaged and orbit-averaged spin evolution, Phys. Rev. D 106, 023001 (2022)
  • NKJ-M et al., Investigating the relation between gravitational wave tests of general relativity, Phys. Rev. D 105, 044020 (2022)
  • NKJ-M et al., Constraining black hole mimickers with gravitational wave observations, Phys. Rev. D 102, 123010 (2020)
  • A. Chen, NKJ-M, T. Dietrich, and R. Dudi, Distinguishing high-mass binary neutron stars from binary black holes with second- and third-generation gravitational wave observatories, Phys. Rev. D 101, 103008 (2020)
  • NKJ-M, A. G. Shah, and B. F. Whiting, Experimental mathematics meets gravitational self-force, Phys. Rev. D 92, 044007 (2015)
  • NKJ-M and B. J. Owen, Maximum elastic deformations of relativistic stars, Phys. Rev. D 88, 044004 (2013)