Center for Gravitational Wave Physics,

a new NSF Physics Frontier Center

Lee Samuel Finn, PennState
On August 15 the National Science Foundation created at Penn State the Center for Gravitational Wave Physics as part of its new Physics Frontier Centers program.

As described by the Foundation, the goal of the Physics Frontier Center (PFC) program is to support timely, aggressive, and forward-looking research with the potential to lead to fundamental advances in physics. This new Center is one of only three funded by the Foundation in the first round of Physics Frontier Center funding. The mission of the Center for Gravitational Wave Physics is to help crystallize and develop the emerging discipline of gravitational wave phenomenology: the astrophysics and fundamental physics that gravitational wave observations -- in all wavebands -- enable.

Research at the Center will focus on interdisciplinary problems at the interface of general relativity, gravitational waves, astrophysics and detector design:

The Center for Gravitational Wave Physics is a community resource, meant to support and encourage research in gravitational wave phenomenology. An important component of the Center is a major, international visitors program. Center funding is available to host visitors or groups of visitors who wish to become involved in gravitational wave phenomenology research or focus attention on specific problems. Visits, supported by the Center, from weeks to months are possible, and limited funding is available to support sabbatic visitors.

In addition, the Center will host frequent focus sessions, workshops and conferences on critical gravitational wave phenomenology problems. Focus sessions, which last for just a few days, typically address a single, narrowly defined problem on which it is thought substantial progress can be made through concentrated effort by experts. Workshops, like the recent Gravitational Wave Phenomenology Workshop (described elsewhere in this volume), last from a few days to a week are broader meetings, aimed at discussion and accessible to non-experts and new-comers to the field. Conferences, such as the forthcoming Fourth International LISA Symposium, are larger and longer affairs, whose purpose is to consolidate work in preparation for future efforts.

The recent Gravitational Wave Phenomenology Workshop, held on 6-8 November 2001, was the first workshop sponsored by the new Center. Forthcoming focus sessions include

Forthcoming workshops hosted by the Center include the Fourth Capra Meeting on Radiation Reaction in General Relativity, which will follow immediately on the heels of the radiation reaction focus session, and the second Gravitational Wave Phenomenology Workshop, tentatively planned for Spring 2003. Forthcoming conferences hosted by the Center include the Fourth International LISA Symposium, which will be held 19-24 July 2002.

The core, resident faculty of the Center for Gravitational Wave Physics are Abhay Ashtekar, Sam Finn (Director), Peter Meszaros, Pablo Laguna (Associate Director), Steinn Sigurdsson and Alex Wolszczan. In addition, the Center for Gravitational Wave Physics non-resident faculty  members, who are expected to visit frequently, are Warren Anderson, Mario Diaz and Joseph Romano (University of Texas, Brownsville); Patrick Brady (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee); Matt Choptuik (University of British Columbia); Eanna Flanagan (Cornell University); Gabriela Gonzalez, Jorge Pullin and Joel Tohline (Louisiana State University); Richard Price (University of Utah); Robin Stebbins (Goddard Spaceflight Center); and Ken Strain (University of Glasgow).

All Center activities are open to the broad scientific community, whose participation will be supported through the Center's visitor program. For more information on the opportunities provided by the Center please contact CGWP@Gravity.Phys.PSU.Edu or see the Center's web site (presently under construction) at

Jorge Pullin 2002-02-11