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Julien Larena

Welcome to my personal webpage.

I am currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics, at Rhodes University. My research focuses on gravitation and cosmology, with a particular emphasis on relativistic effects in cosmology. In particular, I am interested in:

  • Fundamental aspects of the theories of gravitation (astrophysical and cosmological tests of the equivalence principle);
  • The averaging, fitting and backreaction issues in cosmology, including tests of the Copernican principle;
  • The nature of the late-time acceleration of the Universe (Dark Energy conundrum);
  • Structure formation in the Universe, including properties of perturbation theory and relativistic cosmological simulations;
  • Relativistic corrections to the standard model of cosmology.

I am also interested in Emergent Gravity (in particular Information Geometry) and in some aspects of the phenomenology of Quantum Gravity such as deformed symmetries and the Generalised Uncertainty Principle.

 Students interested in one or several of these topics are welcome to visit the webpage of our research group and to contact me.


Previous positions

  • 2011-2014: Senior Lecturer in the Mathematics Department, Rhodes University.
  • 2008-2010: Claude Leon post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics at the University of Cape Town.
  • September-December 2007: Part-time lecturer at the University Paris-Diderot.
  • 2004-2007: PhD student in the Laboratoire Univers et Théories (Paris Observatory and University Paris-Diderot).


List of Publications

You can find a list of my scientific publications as well as the  corresponding pdf files here.



Im am currently teaching:

  • Complex Analysis (third year);
  • Ordinary Differential Equations (second year);
  • Numerical Methods (second year).

I also offer a series of courses at Honours level (by reading or lectures, depending on the number of students interested), including:

  • Cosmology;
  • Manifolds: tensor analysis, Riemannian and Lorentzian manifolds, advanced dynamical systems, chaos, bifurcation etc. (depending on students interests);
  • Field Theory (classical and/or quantum);
  • Representation of groups: understanding symmetries in science (particularly in physics).

Students interested in studying towards a Honours degree in mathematics or applied mathematics should consult with me to determine the detailed contents of courses that could interest them, but also possible honours projects they would like to do. Note that, since my personal interests lie in mathematical and theoretical physics, honours courses strongly reflect these interests, although they can be followed by students not majoring in physics.


Past students

  • Alan Clarke (2010, Honours, UCT)
  • Jaco Conradie (2010-2011, Masters, UCT, cosupervision with P. Dunsby)
  • Landman Bester (2011, Honours, Rhodes University)
  • Estelle Collard (MSc, Namur University, cosupervision with A. Fuzfa)
  • Michelle Kogel (Honours)
  • Neo Mohapi (MSc)

Current students

  • Maye Elmardi (PhD, UCT, cosupervision with C. Clakson)
  • Landman Bester (PhD, cosupervision with N. Bishop)
  • Neo Mohapi (PhD)
  • Michelle Kogel (MSc, cosupervision with D. Pollney)
  • Vuyile Sixaba (MSc)

Eratosthenes project

Since January 2013, I am involved in a project aiming at re-doing an Eratosthenes-like experiment to measure the radius of the Earth. It involves students from Ntsika Secondary School in Grahamstown, and members of the Astro-Club of ENSTA in Paris. More details here.

Last Modified: Fri, 11 Nov 2016 10:46:58 SAST