The General Relativity (GR) group is one of the largest classical relativity groups anywhere in the world. Their research is focussed on Einstein's classical theory and its applications to astrophysics. They are particularly interested in the modelling of gravitational-wave sources, and work actively on many aspects of the dynamics of black holes and neutron stars using both approximate methods and fully nonlinear numerical simulations.
Research in the Southampton General Relativity Group focusses on classical general relativity and its application to the most strongly gravitating objects: black holes and neutron stars. These are also the strongest expected sources of gravitational waves in the universe. One of our main motivations is to model these waves for comparison with future observational data, and we have active links with the experimental effort to detect gravitational waves, both on the ground (GEO600 and LIGO, running, and ET, planned) and in space (LISA). The group currently consists of 6 permanent staff, 4 research fellows and 10 PhD students.
We study the interaction of material objects or black holes with their own gravitational field as they move in curved spacetime. The physics of this so-called "self-force" is crucial for understanding the radiative evolution in astrophysical binaries of compact objects and for modelling the gravitational waves that they emit.
Astrophysical observations of black holes and neutron stars can tell us about the extremes of physics, where hot, dense, magnetic plasmas meet strong gravitational fields. To get a quantitative match to our models we need numerical simulations of Einstein’s equations of General Relativity, coupled to relativistic hydrodynamics. Our work focuses on increasing the physics that can be practically simulated, to improve the qualitative accuracy of the simulations. This includes simulations of extreme mass ratio black holes, relativistic elastic matter for the neutron star crust and relativistic superfluids.