Research at the Albert Einstein Institute

The Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute/AEI) is one of the world’s leading centers for gravitational physics, with a unique breadth and depth of its approach to the subject. Scientists at the AEI focus on all aspects of Einstein’s theory of general relativity. The research topics range from the theoretical, observational and experimental aspects of gravitational-wave physics and astrophysics, to unification of general relativity and quantum mechanics, all the way to geometrical and analytical aspects of the theory. The AEI has two branches, one in Potsdam, and one in Hannover where it closely collaborates with the Leibniz Universität Hannover.


Astrophysical and Cosmological Relativity (Potsdam)
Director: Prof. Dr. Alessandra Buonanno
The Astrophysical and Cosmological Relativity department develops accurate analytical and numerical models of gravitational-wave sources, and uses them to analyse data, improving our ability to extract unique astrophysical and cosmological information from the observed signals, and testing Einstein’s theory of general relativity. more
Computational Relativistic Astrophysics (Potsdam)
Director: Prof. Dr. Masaru Shibata
Research in the department Computational Relativistic Astrophysics covers mergers of binary neutron stars and mixed binaries as well as stellar core collapse that form black holes. The department also focuses on studying more fundamental aspects of General Relativity using numerical tools. more
Laser Interferometry and Gravitational Wave Astronomy (Hannover)
Director: Prof. Dr. Karsten Danzmann
The department Laser Interferometry and Gravitational Wave Astronomy focuses on the development of gravitational wave detectors on Earth as well as in space. This comprises also a full range of supporting laboratory experiments in quantum optics and laser physics. more
Observational Relativity and Cosmology (Hannover)
Director: Prof. Dr. Bruce Allen
The Observational Relativity and Cosmology department focuses on direct observational consequences of General Relativity, including the search/analysis of gravitational wave (GW) data, and operation of the Einstein@Home project, looking for weak radio, gamma-ray and GW signals from spinning neutron stars. more
picture: M. Mayer
Director: Prof. Dr. Guido Müller
The Precision Interferometry and Fundamental Interactions department’s research encompasses precision interferometry instrumentation for ground-based and space-based gravitational-wave observatories and laser-optical searches for fundamental interactions beyond the standard model. more
Quantum Gravity and Unified Theories (Potsdam)
Acting Director: Prof. Dr. Alessandra Buonanno
The department Quantum Gravity and Unified Theories attends to the development of a theory that unifies quantum theory and general relativity - in the framework of superstring theory as well as canonical quantization. more

Former and Emeritus Directors

Director Emeritus Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Hermann Nicolai
Head of the ERC group Exceptional Quantum Gravity more

Permanent Independent Research Groups

Continuous Gravitational Waves (Hannover)
Group leader: Prof. Dr. Maria Alessandra Papa
The primary goal of this permanent independent research group is to detect and study continuous gravitational waves, which are expected from the population of Galactic neutron stars. The detection of continuous waves would allow to unveil stars that would otherwise remain invisible to us, and probe them through a messenger which would carry important information about their internal structure and composition. more
Geometry and Gravitation (Potsdam)
Group leader: Prof. Lars Andersson
This independent research group studies fundamental questions in the theory of gravity, and related physical theories. more

Independent Research Groups

Binary Merger Observations and Numerical Relativity (Hannover)
Group leader: Dr. Frank Ohme
The goal of this Max Planck Independent Research Group is to decipher gravitational-wave observations of merging black holes and neutron stars with the help of our most sophisticated theoretical tool: large-scale numerical simulations of these violent collisions. more
Historical Epistemology of the Final Theory Program (Potsdam)
Group leader: Dr. Alexander Blum
This research group focuses on the history of the search for a quantum gravity theory. The group is a joint Max Planck Research Group of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin and the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Potsdam. more
Multi-messenger Astrophysics of Compact Binaries (Potsdam)
Group Leader: Prof. Dr. Tim Dietrich
This Max Planck Fellow Research group investigates through numerical-relativity simulations the emitted gravitational-wave and electromagnetic signals from merging neutron star systems. more
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