Yen Chin Ong (王元君), Ph.D.

I am a theoretical physicist working in 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 -- 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.

My primary research interest is in the physics and mathematics of black holes, 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. In addition, I also work on other aspects of gravity and high energy physics, such as holography and cosmology.

While I am not thinking about research, I enjoy traveling, searching for good food and coffee, taking photographs, and stargazing, and enjoying life in general. I also like reading, especially about mythical creatures and monsters from different cultures. I like owls, cats, and spiders. I hate dolls and clowns.

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 2017 - Present: Distinguished Professor (特聘教授), Center for Gravitation and Cosmology, College of Physical Science and Technology, Yangzhou University, China.

  • Sept 2016 - Aug. 2017: Postdoctoral Researcher, School of Physics and Astronomy, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China.

  • May 2016  - June 2016: Riemann Fellow (Visiting), Riemann Center for Geometry and Physics, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany.

  • Sept 2014 - Aug 2016: NORDITA Fellow, Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and Stockholm University, Sweden.

  • 2008 - 2010: Lecturer, Engineering Mathematics and Science Group, School of Engineering (Electronics),Nanyang Polytechnic, Singapore.

  • 2008 - 2009: Tutor,  National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

  • 2006 - 2007: Teacher, Mathematics Department, Nanyang Girls' High School, Singapore.


  • 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

  • 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 Fundings
(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)

  • 2017: China Postdoctoral Science Foundation Fund (中国博士后科学基金)

Public Outreach

"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)