About our Research
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) do research into the whole spectrum of General Relativity and beyond: from the huge dimensions of outer space to the tiny scales of strings.
The department "Quantum Gravity and Unified Theories", led by Hermann Nicolai, attend to the development of a theory that unifies quantum theory and general relativity - in the framework of superstring theory as well as canonical quantization.
The division "Astrophysical and Cosmological Relativity", led by Alessandra Buonanno, 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.
The division "Computational Relativistic Astrophysics", led by Masaru Shibata, covers mergers of binary neutron stars and mixed binaries – binary systems of a black hole and a neutron star – as well as stellar core collapse that form black holes. The division also focuses on studying more fundamental aspects of General Relativity using numerical tools.
Since 2002, the Albert Einstein Institute has a branch in Hannover. In the "Centre for Gravitational Physics" the AEI collaborates closely with the Leibniz Universität Hannover. Led by Karsten Danzmann, the division "Laser Interferometry and Gravitational Wave Astronomy" focuses on the development of gravitational wave detectors on Earth as well as in Space.
Bruce Allen leads the "Observational Relativity and Cosmology" division in Hannover that is engaged in the development and implementation of data analysis algorithms for different gravitational wave sources. The division operates the distributed computing project Einstein@Home that analyzes data from the gravitational wave detectors, from various radio telescopes, and from the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope with the support from about 470,000 citizen scientists worldwide.
The AEI in Hannover is also operating the German-British gravitational wave detector GEO600 in Ruthe near Hannover. It also plays a leading role in the development of the "Laser Interferometer Space Antenna" LISA, the first laser interferometer in space, and for its technology demonstrator LISA Pathfinder.
The Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics runs powerful computing facilities in Potsdam, Hannover, and Garching. The Hannover facilities are dedicated to data analysis, in which gravitational-wave detector data are searched for astrophysical signals. The facilities in Potsdam and Garching are used for complex numerical simulations; the Potsdam facilities are also used for gravitational-wave data analysis.
In addition to the research divisions, the AEI in Potsdam hosts four independent research groups that specialize in geometry and gravitation, theoretical cosmology, quantum fields and information, and in history of quantum gravity (in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin).
AEI Hannover hosts three independent research groups working on continuous gravitational waves, on binary merger observations and numerical relativity, and on gravitational theory and cosmology.