Charles Forbes Gammie



Charles Forbes Gammie

Primary Research Area

  • Astrophysics / Gravitation / Cosmology
235 Loomis Laboratory

For more information


Professor Charles Gammie received his bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1987 from Yale University and his Ph.D. in astrophysical sciences from Princeton in 1992. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Virginia from 1992-1994, and at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts from 1994-1998. He joined the faculties of physics and astronomy at Illinois in January 1999.

Professor Gammie's research involves black holes, star and planet formation, and accretion physics. He is a leader in the computer simulation of astrophysical plasmas, particularly studies of hot plasmas accreting onto black holes. He was named a University Scholar and a Richard and Margaret Romano Professorial Scholar in 2007.

Research Honors

  • University Scholar, University of Illinois, September 2007 - August 2010
  • Center for Advanced Study Beckman Fellowship, 2001, 2002, 2003
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists And Engineers (PECASE), July 2002
  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award for Outstanding Research/Teaching, 2001-2006
  • National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), Faculty Fellow, 2001-2002, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Semesters Ranked Excellent Teacher by Students

Spring 2015PHYS 496

Selected Articles in Journals

  • Gammie, C.F., Noble, S., & Leung, P.K., “Numerical Models of Black Hole Accretion Flows,” Comp. Phys. Comm., 177: 250–253, Jul. 2007.
  • Johnson, B., & Gammie, C.F., “Linear Theory of Thin, Radially Stratified Disks,” Astrophys. J., 626: 978–990, June 2005.
  • McKinney, J.C., & Gammie, C.F., “A Measurement of the Hydromagnetic Luminosity of a Kerr Black Hole,” Astrophys. J., 611: 977–995, August 2004.
  • Gammie, C.F., “The Magnetorotational Instability in the Kerr Metric,” Astrophys. J., 614: 309–313, October 2004.
  • Watson, W.D., Wiebe, D.S., McKinney, J.C., & Gammie, C.F., “Anisotropy of Magnetohydrodynamic Turbulence and the Polarized Spectra of OH Masers,” Astrophys. J., 604: 707–716, April 2004.
  • Gammie, C.F., Shapiro, S.L., & McKinney, J.C., “Black Hole Spin Evolution,” Astrophys. J., 602: 312–319, February 2004.

Related news

  • Research

In April 2019, the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration published the first images of a black hole, the one at the center of the nearby galaxy M87. Now, a new analysis of unexplored archival data from as early as 2009 has shown that although the size and shape of the crescent-like asymmetry present in the original image is a consistent feature of the data, its orientation varies. The crescent wobbles.The full results have been published in The Astrophysics Journal.

  • In the Media

Albert Einstein was right again. More than 100 years ago, his calculations suggested that when too much energy or matter is concentrated in one place, it will collapse in on itself and turn into a dark vortex of nothingness. Physicists found evidence to support Einstein’s black hole concept, but they’d never observed one directly. In 2017, 200-plus scientists affiliated with more than 60 institutions set out to change that, using eight global radio observatories to chart the sky for 10 days. In April they released their findings, which included an image of a dark circle surrounded by a fiery doughnut (the galaxy Messier 87), 55 million light years away and 6.5 billion times more massive than our sun. “We have seen what we thought was unseeable,” said Shep Doeleman, leader of what came to be known as the Event Horizon Telescope team. The team’s name refers to the edge of a black hole, the point beyond which light and matter cannot escape. In some ways, the first picture of a black hole is also the first picture of nothing.

  • Accolades

The 347 scientists from around the globe who worked together to capture the first-ever image of a black hole have won the 2020 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. The Breakthrough Prize Foundation announced today that members of the international Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration were selected for this honor, with the citation: “For the first image of a supermassive black hole, taken by means of an Earth-sized alliance of telescopes.”

The $3-million prize will be shared equally among all contributing scientists named on the six EHT papers published on April 10, 2019, in conjunction with the public unveiling of the black hole image—the first direct evidence of a supermassive black hole and its shadow.In addition to Gammie, U of I’s EHT research team members named Breakthrough Prize laureates include current physics graduate students George Wong and Ben Prather; current astronomy graduate student Andrew Nadolski; former astronomy graduate students Ben Ryan (now an R&D scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory), Dimitrios Psaltis (now an astronomy professor at The University of Arizona), and Hotaka Shiokawa (now a data scientist at Rakuten Institute of Technology); and former physics postdoctoral researchers Monika Moscibrodzka (now an astrophysics professor at Radboud University, the Netherlands) and Roman Gold (now a postdoctoral researcher at Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Germany). Each of these scientists will receive upwards of $8,600 in prize money.