Prof. Bernard Schutz receives the Amaldi Medal, the highest award of the “Italian Society for General Theory of Relativity and Gravitational Physics”

September 03, 2006

Bernard Schutz, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) in Potsdam, will receive the Amaldi Medal in Gold for his outstanding contributions to research in the field of gravitational physics in Europe. The 10,000 Euro award will be presented at a ceremony in Turin on September 04, 2006.

The medal, named after the Italian physicist Edoardo Amaldi (1908-1989), has been awarded every two years since 1998 by the “Italian Society for General Theory of Relativity and Gravitational Physics” (SIGRAV - Società Italiana di Relatività Generale e Fisica della Gravitazione). The last time it was awarded was in 2004 to the famous British mathematician and cosmologist Sir Roger Penrose.

Edoardo Amaldi 

was an outstanding scientist in the field of astrophysics and did research together with the 1938 Nobel laureate Enrico Fermi. For his achievements in the field of physics he was accepted as a “Foreign Member” of the Royal Society.

Bernard Schutz

enjoys an outstanding reputation worldwide due to its scientific activities, its publications, its personal commitment to the interests of gravitational physics and its scientists. He has been and still is the linchpin of fruitful collaboration between theoretical and experimental astrophysicists in Europe and the USA. He played a decisive role in the founding of the research field of gravitational wave astronomy, which is now undoubtedly one of the most forward-looking research fields with the commissioning of the German-British gravitational wave detector GEO600, the American LIGO detectors, the Italian VIRGO detector and, in the near future, the space project “LISA”.

Albert Einstein's theories inspired Bernard Schutz so much that at the age of 17 he was already determined to become a physicist. He studied physics at Clarkson University (State of New York/USA) in Potsdam (!). Together with a group of scientists at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech), he became aware of the importance of gravitational waves, which were an important prediction of Einstein's theory of general relativity, as early as the late 1960s. Since then, Schutz has been investigating the effects of general relativity on astrophysics. Due to his work in the field of theoretical astrophysics - including the calculation of gravitational wave signals and data evaluation of gravitational wave detectors - he is one of the leading international experts in the field of general relativity.

As founding director (together with Prof. Dr. Jürgen Ehlers), Schutz has been heading the fortunes of the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) in Potsdam since 1995. Within the institute, he heads the Department of Astrophysical Theory of Relativity, which deals with mathematical simulations of general relativity and studies of black holes and gravitational waves. He is also Professor at the Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Wales in Cardiff. Together with two other scientists, Schutz is leading the work on the German-British gravitational wave detector GEO600 and is a member of the international scientific team of LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna): a forward-looking joint project of ESA and NASA which is to detect gravitational waves in space from 2015 onwards. Bernard Schutz has also made it his mission to make gravitational physics, from Galileo to Newton and Einstein and current research, accessible to the general public. His book “Gravity from the ground up”, published by Cambridge, is a good example of this.

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