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Relativity & Gravitation Group

The microwave sky as seen by the European Space Agency's Planck satellite

The Relativity & Gravitation Group is part of the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, which in turn is part of the Faculty of Mathematics of the University of Cambridge. The group was founded by Dennis Sciama in 1961, and is currently headed by Professor Paul Shellard. Its activities are closely linked with the Stephen Hawking Centre for Theoretical Cosmology (CTC), with which a number of webpages are shared: CTC supports related research activities on cosmology and black holes, including running conferences and topical workshops and supporting visitors and postdoctoral fellowships.

The Relativity and Gravitation group (GR group) is internationally renowned for a number of important developments in Einstein's classical theory of gravitation, including the no hair and area theorems for black holes and the theorems indicating that singularities would occur both in gravitational collapse and at the beginning of the expansion of the Universe.

The group has expertise in the areas of fundamental theory related to quantum gravity, black holes, gravitational waves, numerical relativity, cosmology, inflation, cosmic strings, the cosmic microwave background and large-scale structure. In recent years the group's main effort has been towards the inclusion of quantum effects, and the development of a theory of quantum gravity; in particular, the semi-classical quantization of black holes (leading, e.g, to the discovery of the thermal radiation produced by them) and the formulation of the Euclidean path integral approach to quantum gravity (leading to the no boundary condition for the Universe).

In addition, the group houses and operates the COSMOS supercomputer.

Please feel free to browse our public pages, which attempt to describe our work in non-technical terms.

Contact details:

Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics
Centre for Mathematical Sciences
Wilberforce Road
Cambridge, CB3 0WA

Telephone and Fax

Telephone: +44 1223 764 267
Fax: +44 1223 764 984


Since 2000, we have been housed in The Märit and Hans Rausing Pavilion (Pavilion B) of the Centre for Mathematical Sciences.

Map and Directions


More information about our research can be found on the website of the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology