Emil Mottola earned his Ph. D. from Columbia Univ. in theoretical physics in 1979. He was a post-doctoral member at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ for 3 years, and subsequently a research fellow at the Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara, CA for 4 years, before joining the staff of the High Energy Physics group of Theoretical Division at Los Alamos in 1986 until 2021. Emil is the author of some 100 publications, with 10,000 citations spanning particle physics, quantum field theory, non-equilibrium and condensed matter physics, general relativity, cosmology, and the physics of black holes.

Emil’s research has focused on reconciling Einstein’s classical theory of general relativity at macroscopic scales, with the quantum Standard Model of particle physics governing matter at the smallest scales. The tension–if not contradiction—between the two becomes acutely apparent in the ‘Information Paradox’ of black holes, as emphasized by Steven Hawking. With Pawel Mazur, Emil proposed that all black hole paradoxes of this kind are resolved if black holes are not black ‘holes’ at all, but *gravitational vacuum condensate stars* (or ‘gravastars’), equally compact objects possessing a physical surface and a non-singular dark energy interior. Emil has developed the fundamental basis for gravastars from quantum theory, and investigated the observational signatures that could distinguish them from black holes in the new era of gravitational wave and multi-messenger astronomy.