Observational Relativity and Cosmology

This department focuses on direct observational consequences of general relativity. This includes the search for and analysis of gravitational-wave signals in data from laser interferometers and pulsar timing arrays, and the operation of the Einstein@Home project, looking for weak radio, gamma-ray and gravitational-wave signals from spinning neutron stars.

Research topics

The most important research area of our department is the development and implementation of data analysis algorithms to search for the different gravitational-wave sources. This includes nanohertz gravitational-wave detection with pulsar timing arrays and searches for continuous-wave and inspiral signals in data from ground-based gravitational-wave detectors.

Members of the department also search for and study pulsars through their gamma-ray and radio emission.

Searches for weak signals are very compute-intensive. In some cases, the lack of computing resources makes the searches substantially less sensitive than would be possible using the same experimental data, but with infinite computing power.

For this reason, one of the central activities of the group is to maintain and increase the computing resources available to us. The group operates the ATLAS computing cluster, which is the world's largest and most powerful resource dedicated to gravitational-wave searches and data analysis.

It also plays a leading role in the Einstein@Home project, which uses computing power donated by the general public to search for gravitational waves and electromagnetic emission from neutron stars.

Further information

The department “Observational Relativity and Cosmology” at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) in Hannover offers student internships every summer.
The department “Observational Relativity and Cosmology” closely cooperates with different institutions and research groups worldwide.

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