International training centre for gravitational physics has been founded

The International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) for Geometric Analysis, Gravitation, and String Theory has been launched – gifted junior scientists are following in Einstein’s footsteps

February 10, 2004

The International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) for Geometric Analysis, Gravitation, and String Theory at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute, AEI) has taken up its work in Potsdam. Following the example of renowned British and American higher education institutions, first ten, then later 20, gifted young scientists will pursue their doctoral studies as participants. The School is a joint project of AEI, Freie Universität Berlin (Institute for Mathematics) und Universität Potsdam (Institute for Mathematics) under the leadership of Prof. Hermann Nicolai and Prof. Gerhard Huisken, both Directors at the AEI.

The special features of IMPRS are:

  • Doctoral students and the scientists supervising them work closely together. A maximum of two students are supervised by one scientist.
  • The Albert Einstein Institute, the Universität Potsdam and the Freie Universität Berlin jointly organize an outstanding interdisciplinary educational programme. At the same time this results in a much closer cooperation between the participating educational institutions and the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics.
  • The thematic interlinking of individual doctoral theses leads to the development of an area of scientific specialization.

During the next two or three years the young scientists will, under intensive guidance, immerse themselves in the field of research established by Albert Einstein and thereby wrestle with the basic question of our existence: with the origins of the universe and ... “what holds the world together at its very centre.”

This includes questions related to

  • pure mathematics
  • the superstring theory with its generalizations (e.g. the super membrane theory), which has as its goal the unification of general relativity and quantum theory
  • the physics of black holes and gravitational waves
  • the cosmological applications of relativity

Young scientists who want to study for a doctorate after obtaining an undergraduate or master’s degree can apply. A limited number of scholarships are available to financially aid students. 

Two students of the IMPRS

Virginia Florence Dippel (23):
“The thing that really excited me about IMPRS, despite the growing trend towards specialization, was the opportunity to receive insights in related areas through joint events of IMPRS members.”   

Virginia Florence Dippel studied physics at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen and obtained a Master of Science (MSc) in Elementary Particle Physics from the University of Durham, UK. Since January 2004 she has been studying for a doctorate in the area of string theory at the AEI.

Aureliano Skirzewski Prieto (23): 
“The Max Planck Institute for gravitational physics is an international renowned research institution and is the only Institute worldwide where all the research areas of gravitational physics can be found in one place. I couldn’t have imagined any better place to pursue my doctorate.”

Aureliano Skirzewski Prieto comes from Venezuela and graduated from the University of Los Andes, Venezuela, receiving a Bachelor of Science (BSc). He then studied at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy and concluded his studies there by earning a MSc. He is doing his doctorate in quantum gravitation at the AEI.

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