Relativity, Gravitation & Cosmology
The MSU Gravity Group studies extreme astrophysical phenomena, such as the big bang and the inspiral and merger of black holes and neutron stars, in order to further our understanding of astrophysics and fundamental physics. The incredible conditions that occur in these astrophysical events far exceed those attainable in any Earth-bound laboratory, and thus, their potential for new discovery is enormous. Our research involves mainly Einstein's theory of General Relativity, including black holes and neutron stars, cosmology, and aspects of modified gravity theories, inspired by string theory and quantum gravity.
Artist's concept of the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) mission
Gravitational wave astrophysics is an exciting new area of research that is poised to open a new window to the Universe. These waves, Einstein's last untested prediction, are ripples in the fabric of spacetime that are generated in violent astrophysical events, such as when black holes collide. Gravitational waves carry invaluable information about the source that produced them. Their detection will allow us, for the first time, to map the distribution of black holes and neutron stars in the galaxy, as well as to test Einstein's theory in previously uncharted territory. The Gravity group is a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (ground-based detector) and the LISA Science Team (space-based detector).
Cosmology is another exciting area of research with new data coming in from the Plank satellite that show the earliest images of our Universe's birth. Such data and future, planned experiments, will allow us to determine the fundamental properties of the cosmic microwave background to unprecedented levels. Gravitational wave detectors themselves might also be able to provide cosmological information through the detection of stochastic backgrounds. These and much more are the topics of research of the MSU Gravity group.
Hiscock Gravity Award
This award is intended for incoming graduate students who are interested in gravitational research and showed exceptional promise in their undergraduate studies. The Gravity Group selects the awardees based on undergraduate GPA, GRE score, research experience, aptitude or creativity and letters of recommendations submitted during the graduate school application process. Award amounts vary depending on available funding
Gravity Group Weblinks
- Gravitational Wave Tests of Alternative Theories of Gravity in the Advanced Detector Era Workshop
- Policy for Gravity Graduate Students
- LISA Calculator (models gravitational waves emitted by circular binary systems)
- LISA Simulator
- Cool Gravitational Waves Movies!
Faculty Participating in Gravity Programs: