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New director at the Albert Einstein Institute: Prof. Alessandra Buonanno has accepted position at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Potsdam, Germany

The US-Italian theoretical physicist will succeed Prof. Bernard F. Schutz in September 2014.

January 16, 2014

This year will see a change in directors at the Albert Einstein Institute: founding director Prof. Bernard F. Schutz will retire after 19 years of research work at the AEI. Prof. Alessandra Buonanno, the candidate of choice of the AEI directors for his succession, is a physics professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. She will move later this year from the USA to Potsdam. Her arrival will further strengthen the Institute's leadership role in worldwide research in gravitational wave detection and black holes.

“Prof. Buonanno is already a valued colleague in our international gravitational wave community. Her expertise is just what the Institute needs now as we look forward to the first detection of gravitational waves in the next three or four years, and the breadth of her research interests fits very well into the institute’s overall research program. I am very pleased to be handing over to such a talented young physicist!” says Prof. Bernard F. Schutz.

Professor Dr. Alessandra Buonanno Zoom Image
Professor Dr. Alessandra Buonanno

Alessandra Buonanno is a theoretical physicist working in gravitational-wave physics and cosmology. Buonanno's research has focused on the analytical modeling of the dynamics and gravitational-wave emission from coalescing black holes, the interface between analytical and numerical relativity, and the search for gravitational waves with ground-based detectors, such as the Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory (LIGO), GEO600 and Virgo. She has carried out research to design advanced optical configurations of laser interferometer gravitational-wave detectors that use the subtleties of quantum mechanics to gain even more sensitivity. She is also interested in studying physical mechanisms in the early Universe responsible for gravitational-wave emission.  

Alessandra Buonanno earned her PhD in theoretical physics at the University of Pisa in Italy. After a brief period spent at the theory division of CERN, she held postdoctoral positions at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques (IHES) in France and at the California Institute of Technology in the USA. She was a staff researcher at the Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris (IAP) and Laboratoire Astroparticule et Cosmologie (APC) in Paris with the Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) before joining the University of Maryland as physics professor. While at the University of Maryland, Buonanno has been a Fellow of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. She was a Radcliffe Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. She is a Fellow of the International Society on General Relativity and Gravitation, and a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

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