Stefan Eccles

2021 Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin 
2011 B.S. Montana State University
Much of classical and quantum physics takes for granted the existence of a background spacetime which provides the stage on which dynamics unfold.   General relativity improves this situation by treating the spacetime as a smooth Lorentzian manifold which interacts dynamically with matter and energy.  But the modern perspective is that this level of description is not the deepest, and that spacetime itself emerges from more fundamental quantum degrees of freedom.  I’m interested in understanding how causal and metric structure can emerge from such a description, using hints from the field of spacetime thermodynamics and the tools of quantum information theory and quantum many-body physics.  I am interested in gleaning lessons from the relatively well-understood context of AdS/CFT and applying them to spacetime emergence more generally, and particularly to the ill-understood context of positive cosmological constant.

List of publications: 

E-mail: stefan.eccles [at] 


Josh Kirklin

2020 Ph.D. University of Cambridge
2016 M.Ma. University of Cambridge 
2016 B.A. University of Cambridge 
At a very basic level, scientific observation is just a process by which we are provided with a list of numbers describing the outcomes of some experiments. Scientists attempt to find a mathematical model which can reproduce correlations between the various numbers in the list, but arguably the list, and the information it contains, is more fundamental than the model. This perspective was termed 'it from bit' by John Wheeler in 1986, and my main interests lie in applying it to quantum gravity. In particular, I try to think about how this approach is informed by experimentally verified properties of gravity, such as its low energy behavior in the semiclassical limit. The relevance of objects such as black holes in this regime allow us to ask very sharp questions about the underlying information. More generally I am also interested in what we can learn from specific models that describe the ultraviolet physics. 
E-mail: joshua.kirklin [at]


Isha Kotecha

2020 PhD Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics-Potsdam, Humboldt University of Berlin 
2013 MASt University of Cambridge 
2012 MSci (incl. BSc) Imperial College London 
To understand better the nature of spacetime and quantum theory is an ongoing effort across communities. The interface of gravity, thermal physics and quantum theory has offered many key insights in this respect. For instance, the notions of time, temperature and energy are found to be intimately linked, especially in a background independent context. These further seem to be related to the presence of information barriers in general, e.g. causal horizons in spacetime. There are several such concepts and quantities that become deeply intertwined at this interface, like time, energy, entropy, geometry, causality, entanglement and observers. My research interests are broadly aimed at probing this interface, utilising tools from quantum information theory and many-body physics. I am particularly interested in understanding generic, more universal properties of (quantum) spacetime, and its thermal features. I am also interested in spacetime thermodynamics, and its emergence from the collective behaviour of underlying quantum gravitational degrees of freedom.

E-mail: isha.kotecha [at]


Fabio Maria Mele

2020 Ph.D. University of Regensburg, Germany 
2016 M.Sc. University of Naples “Federico II”, Italy 
2013 B.Sc. University of Naples “Federico II”, Italy 
Recent developments in different approaches to quantum gravity seem to suggest a very intriguing picture of spacetime as a many-body quantum system whose physical properties result from the correlations and exchange of information among its microscopic texture. My main interests lie in further exploring such a picture and its foundational implications, with a multi-disciplinary and possibly approach-independent attitude. This consists first of all in investigating how the structures characterizing spacetime at classical and ultimately quantum level can be inferred from general ideas and techniques borrowed from statistical mechanics, information theory and thermodynamics. Second, I am interested in the lessons and insights that we can learn from implementing the above perspective in specific microscopic models of spacetime. In this sense, black holes and cosmological systems can offer promising scenarios where these questions can be addressed in a simplified setting.

List of publications:

E-mail: fabio.mele [at]


Rotation Students 

  • Julian Lang 
  • Saswato Sen

Research Interns

  • Vanessa Brzić 
  • Germain  Tobar

Research Unit Administrator 

Midori Tanahara

Midori was born in Okinawa, studied in Tokyo and Vancouver and joined OIST in 2008.  She provides an administrative support to the Hoehn Group for daily lab operation.  She loves to travel, cook and eat.
E-mail: midori.tanahara [at]



Rotation Students 

Jiahui Bao

Master degree: Sun Yat-sen University
Bachelor degree: Hunan University
E-mail: jiahui.bao [at]

Miguel Jorquera Riera

2018 MPhys (incl. BSc), Lancaster University
E-mail: miquel.jorquera [at]



Snigdh Sabharwal

Bachelor degree: University of Delhi
Master degree: Leiden University
E-mail: snigdh.sabharwal [at]

Tatiana Iakovleva

Bachelor degree: Novosibirsk State University
Master degree: Novosibirsk State University
E-mail:tatiana.iakovleva [at]

Joshua Carlo Casapao 

Julian De Vuyst

2021 MSc Ghent University
2019 BSc Ghent University

E-mail: julian.devuyst [at]

Andreani Petrou

2014-2017 Bachelor in physics, Leiden University (Netherlands)
2018-2019 MSc in mathematical physics, University of Edinburgh (UK)

Research Interns 

Victor Castillo Martinez 


MASt Applied Mathematics, University of Cambridge 
BSc Physics, King’s College London

Giovanni Natale

2020 MSc Mathematical Sciences, University of Oxford 
2019 BSc (Hons) Physics and Mathematics, University of Glasgow