Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics

About the institute

The Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute, AEI), located in Potsdam and Hannover, is one of the 83 institutes belonging to the Max Planck Society. Since its foundation in 1995, it has established itself as an internationally leading research center. The entire spectrum of gravitational physics is explored here within five departments and several independent research groups. Activities include basic research on the theory of general relativity and quantum gravity as well as experimental and theoretical aspects of gravitational waves, which were predicted by Einstein in 1916 and measured in 2015.

At the institute in Potsdam, researchers from the “Astrophysical and Cosmological Relativity” department develop sophisticated analytical and numerical methods for solving Einstein’s equations of general relativity, and predict highly accurate waveforms for gravitational waves. The “Geometric Analysis and Gravitation” department investigates physical models and mathematical methods (differential geometry and equations), which can be used to describe gravitational phenomena. The “Quantum Gravity and Unified Theories” department is searching for a new theory of quantum gravity that contains the standard model of quantum field theory and the theory of general relativity as limiting cases, but that overcomes their mathematical inconsistencies. Scientists from the independent research group “Theoretical Cosmology” are working to enhance our understanding of the very early universe and its most mysterious aspect, the big bang. The central object of study of the independent research group “Geometric Measure Theory” are two-dimensional or higher-dimensional surfaces in flat or curved spaces of three or more dimensions, respectively. The Minerva Group “Gravitation and Black Hole Theory” focuses on the astonishing effects that black holes have in the surrounding space‑time.

AEI promotes young scholars at all levels. A spring school is held each year at the institute’s Potsdam site. The institute also runs two International Max Planck Research Schools to train and promote doctoral candidates.


Phone: +49 331 5 67‑70

Website with detailed information, also about studies and careers:

Head of Institute/contact persons:

  • Director AEI Potsdam: Professor Dr. Alessandra Buonanno

  • Director AEI Potsdam: Professor Dr. Hermann Nicolai

  • Scientific Coordination and Public Relations Potsdam: Dr. Elke Müller