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Commemorative colloquium on the occasion of Jürgen Ehlers’ 80th birthday

Meeting of experts at the Albert Einstein Institute in Potsdam on 15 January 2010

January 12, 2010

On 29 December 2009, Jürgen Ehlers, Founding Director of the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics would have celebrated his 80th birthday. To mark the date, the Institute has organized a special colloquium to reflect on his work and to highlight new developments in the area of mathematical relativity theory.

Date: 15 January 2010, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Location: Main building of the Max Planck Campus, Am Mühlenberg 1,
14476 Potsdam-Golm

With the attendance of Thibault Damour (Paris), Todd Oliynyk (Melbourne) and Peter Schneider (Bonn), it has been possible to attract three leading international scientists for the colloquium. In their talks the scientists will provide new insight into the relativistic two-body problem and into the crossing point from Einstein’s to Newton’s gravitation theory, as well as into gravitational lenses.

Prof. Dr. Gerhard Huisken, Director at the Albert Einstein Institute and Head of the ‘Geometric Analysis and Gravitation’ Department: “This scientific colloquium will enable us to honour our deceased colleague by turning the spotlight on the long-term influence that his deep insights have had and making this available to a broad scientific community.”

Around 60 renowned scientists from around the globe will take part in the colloquium dedicated to the memory of Jürgen Ehlers on 15 January 2010.

We cordially invite you to attend the colloquium in the main building of the Max Planck Campus and to engage in conversations with the scientists. Please register with: Susanne Milde, Tel.: 0331 – 583 93 54, e-mail:

Jürgen Ehlers (29 December 1929 – 20 May 2008)
primarily turned his attention to questions relating to the general theory of relativity and cosmology. His doctoral thesis had already provided one of the first contributions to what was later to become the theory of black holes. He defined the “point of no return” - subsequently called the “event horizon”, the distance from the centre of a black hole at which gravity would be so strong that not even light can escape and thus also no information about what actually happens inside the black hole. In his habilitation treatise and in later works Ehlers dedicated his efforts to the description of matter in general relativity and the use of the thereby resulting model in cosmology.

In addition, Jürgen Ehlers worked on the theory of gravitational waves. These "ripples of space-time" are generated by accelerated movements of massive structures, such as the collision of black holes.

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