top of page
WeChat Image_20220801225103b.jpg

​Yen Chin Ong


If the stars should appear but one night every thousand years, how man would marvel and stare.

-- Ralph Waldo Emerson


I am a theoretical physicist working in general relativity, gravitation and cosmology, although my Ph.D. is formally in astrophysics. In fact, I was originally trained in pure mathematics during my bachelor's and master's degrees, with main interest in differential geometry and topology. This eventually led me down the road of general relativity and other theories of gravity -- a rich playing ground of Lorentzian geometry, topology, and differential equations.

My fascination with astronomy, however, goes way back to my childhood, as I wondered then -- as I still do now -- whether we are alone in this vast Universe. I am currently the academic advisor of the astronomical society of Yangzhou University.

My primary research interest is in the physics and mathematics of black holes (and other solutions like wormholes), especially the properties of various types of black holes in both general relativity and modified gravity theories, at both classical and quantum levels (including Hawking radiation). I am also interested in the underlying properties of modified theories of gravity, especially those that involve geometric quantities like torsion. I am increasingly interested in the underlying relations between spacetime geometries, gravitational entropy, singularities and the nature of time. In addition, I also work on other aspects of gravity and high energy physics, such as quantum gravity phenomenology, holography (gauge-gravity correspondence) and theoretical cosmology.


While I am not thinking about research, I enjoy traveling, searching for (and cooking) good food and coffee, taking photographs, taking care of plants, stargazing, and enjoying life in general. I also like reading, especially about mythical creatures and monsters from different cultures. I like owls, cats, and jumping spiders. 

About My Name

I am a Malaysian Chinese, born in Kuala Terengganu. My given name ("first name") is Yen Chin (元君), and my surname is Ong (王). A Malaysian Chinese name usually does not follow the Pinyin system; rather our surnames are romanized according to our ancestral dialects. "Ong" is the Hokkien romanization of 王, which is pronounced "Wang" in Pinyin. In addition, my romanized given names are two separated words (not Yenchin), and there is no dash in between the words (not Yen-Chin). Yes, as you can see, this is confusing enough to warrant an explanation...

Employment, Visiting Positions, and Affiliations


  • Sept 2010 - Jun 2014: Ph.D., Graduate Institute of Astrophysics, Department of Physics & Leung Center for Cosmology and Particle Astrophysics (LeCosPA), National Taiwan University.
    Thesis: Evolution of Black Holes in Anti-de Sitter Spacetime & the Firewall Controversy 
    (Received Springer Theses Award "Recognizing Outstanding Ph.D. Research", published version available here



  • Sept 2008 - Sept 2010: M.Sc., Department of Mathematics, National University of Singapore.
    Thesis: Topological Black Holes with Some Applications in AdS/CFT Correspondence.


  • Sept 2002 - June 2006: B.Sc. (Hons.), Department of Mathematics, National University of Singapore.
    Thesis: Concept of Curvature in Dimensions Above Two.

Awards and Honors

I was in the 2019 and 2020 list of Top 2% Scientist by Research Field in the "Updated Science-Wide Author Databases of Standardized Citation Indicators" conducted by the Stanford study. Other majors and honors are as follows:

  • 2020: Invited to full membership of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Honor Society.

  • 2015: Springer Theses Award: Recognizing Outstanding Ph.D. Research

  • 2014: Dean’s Award for Excellent Ph.D. Thesis (院长奖), College of Science, National Taiwan University.

  • 2014: Excellence Teaching Award for Teaching Assistant (杰出教学助理奖), National Taiwan University.

  • 2011: Judge’s List Award in the 5th Popular Science Writing Competition ("人与自然"科普写作桂冠奖入围奖), the Foundation of National Museum of Natural Science, Taiwan.

  • 2011: 2nd Prize in the Natural Sciences Category of Philosophy Laurel Prize (哲学桂冠奖自然组第二名), National Taiwan University.

  • 2011 - 2013: MOE Taiwan Scholarship ("教育部"台湾奖学金). Awarded by the Ministry of Education of Taiwan to pursue Ph.D. This is a highly prestigious scholarship, which is only awarded to around 1250 students -- which include undergraduate, masters and PhD students -- per year across the world.

External Grants and Funding
(year awarded)

  • 2019: National Science Foundation of China, Excellent Young Scholars Fund (国家自然科学优秀青年基金)

  • 2019: Jiangsu Specially-Appointed Professor  (江苏省特聘教授)

  • 2018: National Science Foundation of China, Young Scientist Fund  (国家自然科学青年科学基金)

  • 2017: Natural Science Foundation Fund for Youths of Jiangsu Province (江苏省自然科学青年基金)

Public Outreach

  • 2020: Invited by Shanghai Science Writers Association (上海市科普作家协会) to give a public lecture on black hole physics to introduce 2020 Physics Nobel Prize ("解读2020年诺贝尔物理学奖--探索黑洞和银河系最黑暗的秘密"). A short video was also broadcast online by China Science Communication: 

"In the broad light of day mathematicians check their equations and their proofs, leaving no stone unturned in their search for rigour. But, at night, under the full moon, they dream, they float among the stars and wonder at the miracle of the heavens. They are inspired. Without dreams there is no art, no mathematics, no life." -- Michael Atiyah (Notices of the AMS, 2010)

bottom of page