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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/C541227/1
Title: Conformal properties of isolated systems in general relativity
Principal Investigator: Valiente Kroon, Dr JA
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Mathematical Sciences
Organisation: Queen Mary University of London
Scheme: Advanced Fellowship (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 October 2005 Ends: 30 September 2010 Value (£): 256,026
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Mathematical Physics
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
18 Apr 2005 Mathematical Sciences ARF interviews Deferred
14 Mar 2005 Maths Fellowships 2005 Sifting Panel Deferred
Summary on Grant Application Form
Einstein's theory of general relativity describes the gravitational field as a manifestation of the curvature of spacetime. One of the most important predictions of general relativity is that of gravitational waves -ripples of spacetime propagating at the speed of light. The first direct detections of gravitational waves are expected to occur sometime within the next decade. The gravitational waves to be measured by the current generation of gravitational wave detectors are mainly expected to be produced by colliding black holes or neutron stars. Black holes and neutron stars belong to a broader type of astrophysical systems which are usually thought as being isolated systems. Isolated systems are an idealisation of reality whereby it is assumed that the system is not affected by the cosmological expansion of the Universe. Why is such an idealisation necessary? The equations governing the gravitational field -the Einstein equations- are exceedingly complicated and thus some simplifications are needed when trying to describe what happens, say, during the collision of 2 black holes. However complicated the system may be, intuitively, one would expect that if looked at from far away the system might appear simpler, in the same way that a person looked at from far away looks almost like a point, with most of their individual features faded by the distance. This is the main idea of what is known as the asymptotics of the gravitational field, which is the study of the properties of the gravitational field far away from the body which is curving the spacetime. In this way the Einstein equations simplify enough so that a precise mathematical description of, say, gravitational waves and the energy they take away from bodies is possible. The asymptotics of the gravitational field is an area of research with a long tradition, going back to more than 40 years. However, the meaning of the diverse simplifications one has to make in order that the equations become handlable has never been properly understood. This has been so mainly because, even with the assumption of looking at the gravitational field from far away, the equations are still very complicated. It is only very recently that the mathematical techniques necessary to handle the equations properly have been developed. The objective of this project is precisely to make use of this new mathematics to set on firm ground the asymptotics of the gravitational field. In order to do so, we shall look at the bodies in two different ways. Firstly, we will look at the bodies from far away -great distance separation-, and secondly we will look at them at very late times, that is, after they have released almost all the gravitational waves they can -great time separation.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Project URL: http://www.maths.qmul.ac.uk/~jav
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