Understanding the secrets of space-time: Conference to mark the 65th birthday of Helmut Friedrich

Meeting of experts at the Albert Einstein Institute in Potsdam on January 8 - 9, 2009.

October 05, 2009

The physicist and mathematician Helmut Friedrich, one of the most prominent scientists working on Einstein’s field equations, will be honoured this week with an international conference.

Helmut Friedrich works in one of the most challenging areas in Einstein’s gravitation theory: The equations of the general theory of relativity are extremely complicated, as they deal with a system of coupled nonlinear partial differential equations. For this system of equations, exact solutions can only be found in very rare cases - one of these, for example, is a single black hole. Helmut Friedrich has not only found new solutions, but in particular has developed mathematical methods with which it is possible to better understand entire “classes” (types) of solutions. Over several decades, he has above all devoted himself to the mathematical description of gravitational waves. The exact description and comprehension of these extremely small oscillations of curved space-time provides important information about the characteristics and the cosmological sources of gravitational waves.

Around 40 outstanding scientists from all over the world are expected to attend the conference Space, Time and Beyond honouring Helmut Friedrich from 8-9 October 2009.

We cordially invite you to attend the conference and to take part in discussions with the scientists. Please register with: Susanne Milde, Tel.: 0331 – 583 93 54, e-mail: milde@mildemarketing.de

Helmut Friedrich
studied physics at the Universität Hamburg where he wrote his PhD thesis in 1979 on Einstein’s field equations. After being invited by Stephen Hawking for a research residency in Cambridge, he worked as a scientist from September 1981 at the University of the Federal Armed Forces Hamburg. There he received from August 1983 a Heisenberg professorship from the German Research Foundation (DFG). Helmut Friedrich received his extended postdoctoral qualification in January 1984 at the Universität Hamburg in theoretical physics. From October 1984 he worked there as a private lecturer. After research stays at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences in New York and at the University of Pittsburgh, he moved from Hamburg to the Max Planck Institute for Physics and Astrophysics in Garching. There he conducted research in Jürgen Ehlers' research division. Ehlers, who was one of the Founding Directors of the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics, brought Friedrich to Potsdam in 1995.

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