### Dr. Michael (Mitch) Pfenning

Associate Professor

michael.pfenning@westpoint.edu

### Biography

Dr. Pfenning was born and raised on Long Island, New York. He attended the Brentwood public schools and was salutatorian of his graduating class. With a scholarship from Bausch and Lomb, he earned a BS in Optical Engineering with a minor in Physics from the University of Rochester. He pursued his graduate studies at Tufts University, earning both an MS and Ph.D. in Physics. He has held postdoctoral fellowships in the Department of Physics at the University of Guelph in Canada and in the Department of Mathematics at the University of York in England. Dr. Pfenning has also worked for Certain Teed doing optical system design and for Raytheon’s radar design division analyzing advanced phased array communication systems. He joined the faculty of the United States Military Academy in2003 and earned the rank of Associate Professor in 2009. Dr. Pfenning is a Cosmologist by training and specializes in Quantum Field Theory in Curved Spacetime.

### Ongoing Research Projects

I work predominantly in the field of semi-classical gravity, in which the spacetime of the universe is treated as a classical curved manifold in the conventional treatment of general relativity, but the matter content is given by the expectation value of a quantized field theory. Some topics that I have addressed in this context are quantum coherence, negative energy states, quantum weak energy inequalities, and the Casimir effect. Some of the advanced mathematical tools employed are, differential geometry and exterior differential calculus in the study of general relativity, C* algebras in the algebraic formulation of quantum field theory, and micro-local analysis in the study of the singular structure of Green’s functions. Recently, I have been pursuing two projects: a) the classical Cauchy problem in order to quantize the p-form field obeying the generalized Maxwell equations in globally hyperbolic spacetimes with non-trivial topology and b) the production of particles during potential collapse to study if the outgoing quantum state obeys the quantum weak energy inequalities. I have also worked on the gravitational radiation reaction problem for orbiting black hole pairs in general relativity.

### Publications & Presentations

M. J. Pfenning, “Particle creation and energy conditions for a quantized scalar field in the presence of an external, time-dependent, Mamaev-Trunov potential,” Physical Review D 98, p. 065044 (2018). arXiv: 1807.02496.

M. J. Pfenning, “Quantization of the Maxwell field in curved spacetimes of arbitrary dimension,” Classical and Quantum Gravity 26, p. 135017 (2009). arXiv:0902.4887.

C. J. Fewster, K. D. Olum and M. J. Pfenning “Averaged null energy condition in spacetimes with boundaries,” Physical Review D 75, p. 025007 (2007). gr-qc/0609007.

C. J. Fewster and M. J. Pfenning, “Quantum energy inequalities and local covariance I: Globally hyperbolic spacetimes,” Journal of Mathematical Physics 47, p. 082303, (2006). math-ph/0602042.

C. J. Fewster and M. J. Pfenning, “A quantum weak energy integral for spin-one fields in curved spacetimes,” Journal of Mathematical Physics 44, p. 4480 (2003). gr-qc/0303106.

M. J. Pfenning and Eric Poisson, “Scalar, electromagnetic and gravitational self-forces in weakly curved spacetimes,” Physical Review D 65, p. 084001 (2002). gr-qc/0012057.

M. J. Pfenning, “Quantum inequalities for the electromagnetic field,” Physical Review D 65, p. 024009 (2002). gr-qc/0107075.

M. J. Pfenning, “Vacuum polarization and energy conditions at a planar frequency-dependent dielectric-to-vacuum interface,” Physical Review D 62, p. 045018 (2000). hep-th/0001034.

L. H. Ford, M. J. Pfenning and T. A. Roman, “Quantum inequalities and singular negative energy densities," Physical Review D 57, p. 4839 (1998). gr-qc/9711030.

M. J. Pfenning and L. H. Ford, “Scalar field quantum inequalities in static spacetimes," Physical Review D 57, p. 3489 (1998). gr-qc/9710055.

M. J. Pfenning and L. H. Ford, “The unphysical nature of ‘Warp Drive’,” Classical and Quantum Gravity 14, p. 1743 (1997). gr-qc/9702026.

M. J. Pfenning and L. H. Ford, “Quantum inequalities on the energy density in static Robertson-Walker spacetimes,” Physical Review D 55, p. 4813 (1997). gr-qc/9608005.

M. J. Pfenning, “Quantum inequality restrictions on negative energy densities in curved spacetimes,” Doctoral Dissertation, Tufts University (1998). gr-qc/9805037.

M. J. Pfenning and R. H. Milburn, Physics 31 Laboratory Manual: Experiments in Geometrical and Physical Optics, internal publication of Tufts University (1995).