Academic Title

Associate Professor, Physics

Research Interests
  • Exotic Smooth Structure
  • Loop Quantum Gravity
  • Dark Matter
  • Cosmic Strings
Research Summary

My overall research program is devoted to alternative parametrizations of the gravitational field. The general theory of relativity is based upon a mathematical structure called a manifold, and my research is focused on looking at different presentations of this mathematical structure to determine if they can be used to gain a better understanding of the gravitational field.

For instance, exotic smooth structure is a unique feature of manifolds in four-dimensions, and I have proven that at least in some cases, the inclusion of exotic smooth structure can change the outcome of theoretical calculations in semiclassical gravity. In a currently ongoing program, I am looking at modeling dark matter with these exotic smooth structures. In this case, it might be that dark matter does not consist of exotic particles, but rather exotic mathematics.

Finally, I am interested in the connection between quantum mechanics and gravity, specifically that which is found in loop quantum gravity. With some collaborators, we have developed the only self-consistent approach to include topological change in loop quantum gravity.

  • Ph.D., Physics, Florida State University
  • M.S., Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pennsylvania State University
  • B.S., Astrophysics, UMass Amherst
Areas of Expertise
  • Quantum Gravity
  • Classical Gravity
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Astrophysics
Recent Publications

Duston C L, “Using Cosmic Strings to Relate Local Geometry to Spatial Topology,” International Journal of Modern Physics D, 1750033, arXiv:[gr-qc]/1506.00498.

Duston C L, “Topspin Networks and Topology in Loop Quantum Gravity,” The Thirteenth Marcel Grossmann Meeting. March 2015, 2177-2179.

Duston C, “Semiclassical Partition Functions for Gravity With Cosmic Strings,” Class. Quantum Grav. 30 (2013) 165009.