Summer school at the Albert Einstein Institute

Black holes, neutron stars and young scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics

September 23, 2004

At the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute, AEI) a one-week summer school on the structure and dynamics of compact objects is currently taking place. The main focus is on the physics of neutron stars and black holes, especially the role of such objects as sources of gravitational waves. Gravitational waves are one of the last predictions of Einstein's theory of general relativity that have not yet been directly proven experimentally and that physicists around the world are working to prove.

Dr. Sascha Husa (AEI), one of the organizers of the summer school is enthusiastic about the lively participation: “More than 60 scientists from about 20 countries are taking part. Most of the audience are PhD students or postdocs and have already gained some scientific experience on the topic.”

In the context of the summer school, the young scientists continue their education in the relatively young field of gravitational wave astronomy. In a few years, when measurements of gravitational waves can be compared with theoretical predictions, a new window into the universe will open, since gravitational wave astronomy will also provide us with information about objects that are invisible to conventional astronomical methods based on electromagnetic radiation. An example of this is black holes, whose extremely strong gravity makes it impossible even for light to escape.

The meeting, jointly organized by the AEI and the University of Tübingen, will take place from September 20-25 at the Golm Science Park. The summer school is part of the activities of the Collaborative Research Centre transregio “Gravitational Wave Astronomy” funded by the German Research Foundation. This Collaborative Research Centre, which is coordinated by the University of Jena, involves the AEI, the universities of Tübingen and Hanover and the MPI for Astrophysics in Garching. The Collaborative Research Centre brings together more than 50 scientists and numerous doctoral students who are working together on experimental and theoretical aspects of the physics of gravitational waves. The spectrum of topics investigated ranges from computer simulation of sources of gravitational radiation to improving the design of gravitational wave detectors and developing new methods of data analysis.

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