Unveiling the dark universe with gravitational waves
Black holes and compact stars as laboratories for fundamental physics
The landmark detection of gravitational waves has opened a new era in physics, giving access to the hitherto unexplored strong-gravity regime, where spacetime curvature is extreme and the relevant speed is close to the speed of light. In parallel to its countless astrophysical applications, this discovery can have also important implication for fundamental physics.
The aim of the DarkGRA* project - funded by the European Research Council (ERC-2017-StG) - is to investigate novel phenomena related to strong gravitational sources such as black holes and neutron stars - that can be used to turn these objects into cosmic labs, where matter in extreme conditions, particle physics, and the very foundations of Einstein's theory of gravity can be put to the test.
We are exploring some outstanding, cross-cutting problems in fundamental physics: the nature of black holes and of spacetime singularities, the limits of classical gravity, the existence of extra light fields, and the effects of dark matter near compact objects.
* Beside the catchword for gravity, GRA stands also for Grande Raccordo Anulare (lit., Great Ring Junction): a 68 km long motorway that encircles Rome and whose traffic jam reflects the infamous contradictions of the Eternal City.
Paolo Pani, PhD
Department of Physics, Sapienza University of Rome
- Sep 2017: Tests for the existence of black holes through gravitational wave echoes on Nature Astronomy
- Sep 2017: calls for postdoc positions to join DarkGRA team
- Aug 2017: the DarkGRA project was funded by ERC (ERC-2017-StG)
AS OUR ISLAND OF KNOWLEDGE GROWS, SO DOES THE SHORE OF OUR IGNORANCE
- JOHN WHEELER