Mustapha Ishak-Boushaki

Professor - Physics
Tags: Physics cosmology astrophysics general relativity

Professional Preparation

Research Associate - Cosmology
Princeton University - 2005
Ph.D. - Cosmology
Queen's University at Kingston - 2002
B.S. - Physics
University of Montreal - 1998
B.A.Sc - Computer Science
University at Quebec of Montreal - 1994

Research Areas

Research Interests
  • The origin/cause of the acceleration of the expansion of the Universe: Cosmological Constant, Dark Energy, Extensions to General Relativity.
  • Testing Dark Energy versus Modified Gravity at Cosmological Scales of Distance
  • Gravitational Lensing and Applications to Cosmology
  • Constraining cosmological parameters and cosmological models using probes such as gravitational lensing, the cosmic microwave background (CMB), and supernova data
  • Inhomogeneous Cosmological Models and the Averaging Problem in Cosmology
  • Selected topics in General Relativity and Exact Solutions to Einstein's Equations
  • Projects at the intersection of modern cosmology and General Relativity
  • Junction Conditions for Matching Spacetimes and Constructing Wormholes and Thin-shells
  • Computer Algebra (symbolic computing) and application to cosmology and general relativity


Testing General Relativity at Cosmological Scales, Mustapha Ishak. Living Reviews in Relativity journal, Springer, 22:1, 204 pages, published 18 December (2018). 2018 - Publication
Self-calibration method for II and GI types of intrinsic alignments, Ji Yao, Mustapha Ishak, Michael Troxel.  Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 483, 1, 276 (2018). 2018 - Publication
Cosmological discordances: a new measure, marginalization effects, and application to geometry vs growth current data sets, Weikang Lin, Mustapha Ishak. Physical Review D 96, 023532 (2017). 2017 - Publication
Cosmological discordances. II. Hubble constant, Planck and large-scale structure data sets, Weikang Lin, Mustapha Ishak. Physical Review D 96, 083532 (2017).  2017 - Publication
Effects of Self-Calibration of Intrinsic Alignment on Cosmological Parameter Constraints from Future Cosmic Shear Surveys, Ji Yao, Mustapha Ishak, Weikang Lin, M. A. Troxel. Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics 1710, 056 (2017).  2017 - Publication
Testing gravity theories using tensor perturbations, Weikang Lin, Mustapha Ishak, Physical Review D 94, 123011 (2016). 2016 - Publication
Averaged universe confronted with cosmological observations: A fully covariant approach, Tharake Wijenayake, Weikang Lin, Mustapha Ishak, Physical Review D 94, 083501 (2016). 2016 - Publication
Ultra faint dwarf galaxies: an arena for testing dark matter versus modified gravity, Weikang Lin, Mustapha Ishak. Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics  1610, 025 (2016). 2016 - Publication
Constraints and tensions in testing general relativity from Planck and CFHTLenS including intrinsic alignment systematic, Jason N. Dossett, Mustapha Ishak, David Parkinson, Tamara M. Davis. Physical Review D 92, 023003 (2015) 2015 - Publication
The effects of structure anisotropy on lensing observables in an exact general relativistic setting for precision cosmology ", M. A. Troxel, Mustapha Ishak, Austin Peel Published in JCAP 1403:040, (2014). Paper available at 2014 - Publication


The University of Texas at Dallas [2015–Present]
Associate Professor
The University of Texas at Dallas [2011–2015]
Assistant Professor
The University of Texas at Dallas [2005–2011]
Research Associate
Princeton University [2003–2005]
Princeton University [2003–2004]
Teaching Assistant
Queen's University [1998–2000]
Research Assistant
Queen's University [1998–2002]


Collaboration Builder Status Recognition - Legacy Survey of Space and Time – Dark Energy Science Collaboration [2020]
NSM Dean's Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award - University of Texas at Dallas [2018]
Robert S. Hyer Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Research - Texas Section, American Physics Society [2013]
Valued reviewer of the year - Physics Letters B, Elsevier [2010]
NSM Dean's Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award - University of Texas at Dallas [2007]
Postdoctoral Fellowship for Excellence in Research and Leadership - Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) [2002]

Additional Information

Professional Recognitions and Service

 Professional Recognitions and Honors: 

  • Journal Paper voted by the Editorial Board of Classical and Quantum Gravity Journal as one of the journal's highlights of 2002. Article title: Interactive Geometric Database, Including Exact Solutions of Einstein's Field Equations, Mustapha Ishak and Kayll Lake, Classical and Quantum Gravity 19, 505 (2002). 
  • 2002-2004 Postdoctoral Fellowship for Excellence in Research and Leadership from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) 
  •   Journal paper selected by Chief Editor Gerardus 't Hooft (Nobel Laureate in Physics 1999) to appear in the highlights of 2008 of the Foundation of Physics Journal. Article title: Remarks on the formulation of the cosmological constant/dark energy questions. Mustapha Ishak. Foundation of physics Journal, 37:1470-1498,2007. 
  •   2007 Award for Outstanding Teacher of the Year from the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. University of Texas at Dallas
  •   Journal paper highlighted at Physical Review Letters as Editors' suggestion and selected for a synopsis in Spotlighting Exceptional Research in Physics (2013) website of the American Physical Society. "Stringent Restriction from the Growth of Large-Scale Structure on Apparent Acceleration in Inhomogeneous Cosmological Models", Mustapha Ishak, Austin Peel, and M. A. Troxel. Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 251302 (2013).
  •   2013 Robert S. Hyer Award for Excellence in Research and Mentoring Graduate Student from the Texas Section of the American Physics Society. Jointly with Michael Troxel. 
  • 2018 Award for Outstanding Teacher of the Year from the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. University of Texas at Dallas


  National and International Service contributions:

  •   Served as proposal reviewer for the National Science Foundation, Astronomy and Astrophysics Grant program
  •  Served as proposal reviewer for the International Collaboration Program of the National Science Foundation
  •  Served as proposal reviewer for NASA Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Program.
  •  Served as proposal reviewer for Research Foundation of Canada/Quebec for Natural Sciences and Technology.
  •  Served as proposal reviewer for the National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research of Chile (CONICYT Chile).
  •  Reviewed a proposal for The Foundation for Polish Science.
  •  Served as proposal reviewer for the Texas Space Grant Consortium
  •  Serving on the Editorial Board of Journal of Gravity. HPC publishing. New York. 
  •  Served as Chair for the Cosmic Microwave Background session at the 2010 Annual conference of the American Astronomy Society in Washington DC.
  •  Served as Chair for the Dark Matter & Dark Energy session of the 2010 Annual conference of the American Astronomy Society in Washington DC.
  •  Served as Chair for the cosmology session of the 2012 Annual conference of the American Astronomy Society in Austin, TX.
  •  Chaired a session on cosmic acceleration at the second Texas Cosmology Network Meeting at the University of Texas at Austin
  •  Serving as member of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) DESC Science Collaboration. 
  University Current and Previous Service Contributions: 

  •   Member of the University Academic Senate (2007-present)
  •  Member of the Senate Advisory Committee on Research (2008-2010)
  •  Member/Chair of the University Sustainability Committee (2012-present)
  •  Member of the Physics Graduate Admission Committee (2006-present)
  •  Member of the Physics Department committee on undergraduate education  (2005-2009)
  •  Member and Chair of the Ph.D. Physics qualifier exam (2006-2014)
  •  Advisor to the Society of Physics Students (2008-2010)
  •  Chair of the cosmology faculty search committee (2011)
  •  Chair of the cosmology faculty search committee (2012)
  •  Member of space science faculty search committees (2009, 2010)
  •  Member of the physics faculty development committee (2010-present).
  •  Member of faculty third year review (2011, 2012)
  •  Member of faculty tenure review (2012)
  •  Outside Chair for Ph.D. Final Examinations (one per year)
  •  Co-Chaired the local and international scientific organizing committees of the 27thTexas Symposium on Relativistic Astrophysics. (Jubilee meeting).

News Articles

Prof Explores Universe Through Gravity Lens Studies
The National Science Foundation recently awarded Dr. Mustapha Ishak-Boushaki, associate professor of physics at UT Dallas, a $222,000 research grant for his investigations of the gravitational lensing technique used to study the nature of the universe. His studies are aimed at improving the technique to more accurately measure the distribution and density of mass in the universe. His research also could contribute to a better understanding of dark matter, a type of matter thought to be about five times more prevalent than ordinary matter that can be seen through telescopes.Gravitational lensing also can be used to test cosmological models of the universe. “The NSF grant will allow our team to investigate new theoretical and numerical techniques that should help refine the signals received on Earth from deep-sky objects affected by gravitational lensing,” Ishak-Boushaki said.
NASA Funds Investigation of a Cosmic Mystery
Cosmologist Dr. Mustapha Ishak-Boushaki received a $180,000 NASA grant to embark on a two-year study of new models to explain why our universe is picking up speed while it tears itself apart. Ishak-Boushaki, an assistant professor of physics and principal investigator of the UT Dallas Astrophysics, Cosmology and Relativity Group, is using mathematical and numerical tools to explore cosmological models, called Szekeres models, which may offer a more complete explanation of cosmic acceleration than previous models. Cosmology is the branch of astrophysics concerned with the origin, evolution and structure of the universe. Widely considered the most perplexing problem to ever confront astrophysicists, the universe presents a baffling contradiction to logic: gravity should slow the expansion of the universe, not let it speed up.
Study Finds 'Lumpy' Universe Cannot Explain Cosmic Acceleration
Astrophysicists at The University of Texas at Dallas are helping to better define the nature of the cosmos by examining why the universe appears to be expanding at an accelerating pace. In the last century, scientists developed the Big Bang model, which posits that the universe began when a single point containing all the matter in the universe exploded some 13.8 billion years ago. Since then, the universe has been expanding. In 1998, researchers observed light from exploding stars called supernovas, and found that the universe is not expanding at a constant rate, nor is it slowing down, as would be expected from the force of gravity pulling all matter together. Instead, scientists found that the expansion is speeding up. “Because we have eliminated one possibility, researchers can now focus on examining other possible theories as a cause of cosmic acceleration,” said Dr. Mustapha Ishak-Boushaki, an associate professor of physics.


Current graduate students:
Eske Pederson (graduation expected in 2021).  Anish Agash (graduation expected in 2023).  Cristhian Garcia Quintero  (graduation expected in 2024).  Logan Fox  (graduation expected in 2024). 
Masters students supervised
Chris Allison, Jeffrey Scott, Brian Troup, Delilah Whittington, John Thompson,  Lee Caps
Undergraduate student supervision:
Katherine Morgan (undergraduate Thesis/research, 2006) Lee Isaac Trawick, (undergraduate Thesis/research, 2006) Wendy Gartenberg, (undergraduate Thesis/research, 2007) John Wilson (undergraduate Thesis/research, 2007) Jason Dossett, (undergraduate Thesis/research, 2007, 2008) Tan Lee, (undergraduate Thesis/research, 2008) Austin Peel (undergraduate Thesis/research, 2007) John Thompson (undergraduate Thesis/Research, 2008) Lee Caps ((undergraduate Thesis/research, 20010) Thomas Griffins (Undergraduate Research Project, 2012) Nathan Newton (Undergraduate Research Project, 2012) Jonathan Woodbury (undergraduate Thesis/research, 2013) Victor Lee (Undergraduate Research Project, 2015) Joseph Burnett (Undergraduate Thesis/Research, 2015) Cristhian Quintero (Undergraduate research, 2016) Logan Fox (Undergraduate research, 2017) Lindsey Rayborn (Undergraduate research, 2017)
High-school students summer internships:
Tim Carlton summer 2006 Ray Whitside, summer 2007 Sid Mittal, summer 2008 Parker Maginley, summer 2008 Brandyn Lee, summer 2009 Scott Meesse, summer 2009 Genway Huang, summer 2010 Evan Remmele, summer 2011, Emily Bailey 2018, Amelia Neild 2018. 
Cosmology, Relativity and Astrophysics Group :
Professor Mustapha Ishak-Boushaki (Group Leader),  Professor Mike Kesden, Professor Lindsay King, Professor Kaloyan Penev, Professor Wolfgang Rindler (Emeritus).
Graduated Ph.D. Students:
James Richardson (graduated in 2008). Joined the corporate sector. Jacob Moldenhaeur (graduated in 2010). Assistant Professor at University of Dallas. Anthony Nwankwo (graduated in 2011). Joined the corporate sector. Jason Dossett (graduated in 2013). Working as Research Fellow in Astrophysics at INAF -- Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera, Italy. Michael Troxel (graduated May 2014). Working as Research Associate in Astrophysics at The Ohio State University. Austin Peel (graduated in May 2015). Working as Research Associate in Astrophysics and Cosmology at the Institute of Astrophysics, CEA-Saclay, France. Tharake Wijenayake (graduated in May 2016). Quantitative Analyst at Zacks Investment Managment. Ji Yao graduated in 2018 and is working as postdoctoral research fellow at the School of Astronomy Shanghei Jiao Tong University. Weikang Lin graduated in 2018 and is working as postdoctoral research fellow at North Carolina State University.