Jürgen Ehlers Spring School

© T. Dietrich, S. Ossokine, H. Pfeiffer, A. Buonanno (Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik), BAM-Kollaboration

organized by the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute).

March 5 – 16, 2018

The Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) offers a crash course on Black Holes and gravitational wave astrophysics. This course can be attended by European students studying from the 5th semester Physics or Mathematics.

The spring school will first introduce general relativity; we will then discuss black holes; the final section will be about gravitational waves, and will cover in particular the recent discoveries of merging black holes and neutrons stars which were awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize of Physics.

  1. Introduction to General Relativity and the theory of black holes
  2. Gravitational waves and the LIGO/Virgo observations

The timetable is arranged to provide two blocks in the morning. In the afternoon there will be opportunities for questions and discussions.

The lectures will take place daily from 9.15 – 10.45 and 11.15 – 12.45 in the lecture hall of the main building of the Max Planck campus in Golm (near Potsdam).

Information on how to get to the Max Planck campus in Golm can be found here.


Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics
Anika Rast
Beatrice Sonntag
Am Mühlenberg 1
14476 Potsdam-Golm
e-mail: ed.gp1534581549m.iea1534581549@looh1534581549csgni1534581549rps1534581549


Via the online registration until January 05, 2018. About the allocation of places will be decided until January 12.

The number of participants is limited to 40.


A working knowledge of freshman physics (classical mechanics, electromagnetism), and mathematics (advanced calculus, linear algebra) will be assumed. Some prior exposure to differential geometry is desirable but not required.


Week 1: Introduction to General relativity and the theory of black holes

The first week’s lectures will be devoted to the study of Einstein’s theory of General Relativity and the theoretical foundations for black holes. We will discuss topics of current interest in black hole research: quantum properties of black holes and the most captivating gravitational outcomes from black holes such as frame dragging and relativistic jets.

Week 2: Gravitational Wave astronomy

The lectures in this week will give an overview of gravitational wave astronomy.  Topics include the theory of gravitational waves and a discussion of the major astrophysical sources of gravitational waves, most notably inspiraling compact object binaries (i.e. black holes or neutron stars).  After an exposition of gravitational wave detectors and an introduction to gravitational wave data-analysis, the recent spectacular observations of gravitational waves by the LIGO/Virgo detectors will be treated.


Complementary Reading

Introduction to general relativity and the theory of black holes

  • Carroll, S.M. , Spacetime and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity
  • Schutz, B., A first course in General Relativity
  • Wald, R., General Relativity
  • Weinberg, S., Gravitation and Cosmology
  • Wald, General Relativity, University of Chicago Press, 1984
  • Townsend, B., Black Holes
  • Kokkotas, K., Schmidt, B., Quasi-Normal Modes of Stars and Black Holes, Living Rev. Relativity, 2 (1999) 2

Gravitational waves