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 is closely related to the Leibniz Universität Hannover.


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
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
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
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
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

Head of the ERC group Exceptional Quantum Gravity more

Permanent Independent Research Groups:

Group leader: Prof. Lars Andersson
This independent research group studies fundamental questions in the theory of gravity, and related physical theories. more

Group leader: 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.


Independent Research Groups:

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
Group leader: Dr. Anna Ijjas
The Lise Meitner Research Group’s primary focus involves applications of mathematical and numerical relativity to study theories of the origin, evolution, and future of the Universe and the relationship to black hole physics and other aspects of gravitational theory. more
Group leader: Dr. Michal P. Heller
This independent research group, funded by the Humboldt Foundation through a Sofja Kovalevskaja Award, aims at exploring the intersection of gravitational and high-energy physics with quantum information science. more
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
Group leader: Dr. Jean-Luc Lehners
The aim of this independent research group is to enhance our understanding of the very early universe and its most mysterious aspect, the big bang. more

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