Gravitation and Cosmology Research

The gravitational physics group is among the nation's largest and most active, with ten faculty members: Bruce Allen, Luis Anchordoqui, Patrick Brady, Philip Chang, Jolien Creighton, John Friedman, Maria Alessandra Papa, Leonard Parker, Xavier Siemens, and Alan Wiseman.

Research includes relativistic astrophysics and numerical relativity with an emphasis on binary inspiral; analysis of data from LIGO-Virgo gravitational-wave detectors and from the proposed LISA observatory; gravitational-wave phenomenology; cosmology; quantum and classical gravitation; quantum fields in curved spacetime; and cosmic ray astrophysics and neutrino astronomy, with applications to particle physics and cosmology.

Members of the Center play an important role in the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC). LIGO is an ambitious project to detect and study gravitational waves from astrophysical objects such as black holes and supernovae. Large supercomputers are needed to process all the data generated by this experiment. The Center is home to Nemo, a supercomputer equivalent to more than 1500 personal computers, to do this job.

The group also collaborates with the Pierre Auger Observatory, which is working on solving the origin of ultra-high-energy cosmic rays, the most energetic and rarest of particles in the universe.

The Center for Gravitation and Cosmology is committed to furthering science education and public outreach through several programs. One of them is the Arecibo Remote Control Center at UWM, a group of students and teachers that participates in state-of-the-art research, searching for new pulsars remotely using the world's largest radio telescope.

Another program that was developed at the Center, and that involves the participation of the public, is Einstein@Home. Volunteers from all around the world sign up their computers to process data from gravitational-wave detectors.