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Gravitational Theory




Astrophysical relativity is the field of exploring general relativity in its observational aspects with the aid of analytical methods. The aim is to better understand relativistic gravitational phenomena and to make precise quantitative statements in the weak- and even strong-field perturbative regime of general relativity.

A particular emphasis of our research is on the analytical and semi-analytical modelling of sources of gravitational waves which is carried out in the framework of the German research network SFB/TR 7 "Gravitational Wave Astronomy".

The group is lead by Prof. Gerhard Schäfer and currently includes 2 postdocs, 1 PhD student and 1 diploma student.


We aim to provide theoretical constructs that should be useful to a number of communities that try to prove, both theoretically and observationally, relativistic gravity. In particular, we explore, using Einstein's theory for gravity (General Relativity), astrophysical scenarios that are required to develop Gravitational Wave Astronomy in the near future.

The current investigations focus on
  • efforts to analyze and solve Einstein's field equations in the strong-field regime, useful for numerical relativity,
  • accurate and efficient source modeling of gravitational waves, relevant for both ground- and space-based gravitational wave observatories like GEO600, LIGO, VIRGO and LISA,
  • general relativistic inputs required by the collisional N-body simulations, and
  • efforts that should be useful for the Square Kilometer Array.
We are actively engaged in the German research network SFB/TR7 "Gravitational Wave Astronomy" and work closely with colleagues in Germany, France, UK and USA.

Interested and motivated students, who are familiar with General Relativity and scientific computing, are encouraged to contact Prof. Schäfer to participate in any of the above projects.

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