The Institute for Gravitation & the Cosmos (IGC) at Penn State is proud to present its diverse research areas to everybody who is interested in fundamental science. The blog articles are written by graduate students and postdocs to give a comprehensive perspective on the institute’s research.

About the Institute for Gravitation & the Cosmos

The Institute for Gravitation and the Cosmos (IGC) is dedicated to fostering the highest quality education and research in cosmology, general relativity, gravitational wave astronomy, particle astrophysics, quantum gravity and string theory, focusing on the highest energy phenomena and fundamental issues in the science of the cosmos.

The institute consists of three centers whose members come from various Departments of the Pennsylvania State University, including the departments of physics, mathematics, astronomy and also philosophy:

  • Center for Fundamental Theory
    The primary goal of the Center for Fundamental Theory is to foster research and education of the highest quality in the fields of general relativity, non-commutative geometry, loop quantum gravity and string theory and related areas of astrophysics and astronomy, mathematical physics geometry and philosophy of science.
  • Center for Theoretical and Observational Cosmology
    The goal of the Cosmology Center is to enhance our understanding of the large scale structure of the universe using multi-wavelength surveys, computer simulations and fundamental theories, and by confronting theoretical paradigms with observations. On the observational front, our faculty are prominent members of a number of international collaborations, including the Chandra X-ray observatory, the Swift Gamma Ray Explorer Mission, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey-III, the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment, and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. Their research also uses other facilities such as the Hubble space telescope and the XMM-Newton mission and they are leaders in some of the high profile proposed missions such as the Joint Astrophysics Nascent Universe Satellite. These multi-wavelength observations enable us to address some of the central questions in cosmology, such as the nature of dark energy and validity of general relativity at very large scales, the expansion history of early universe, and the formation and growth of super-massive black holes.
  • Center for Particle and Gravitational Astrophysics
    The Center for Particle and Gravitational Astrophysics is engaged in a bold synergistic approach to understanding high energy processes in the universe. Our faculty at Penn State are prominent participants many major international projects which make observations using extremely high energy protons and nuclei, neutrinos, gamma-rays, X-rays and gravitational waves. These projects include the Pierre Auger Cosmic Ray Observatory, ISS-CREAM, CREST, the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, the Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Explorer satellite, the High Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) Gamma-Ray Observatory, VERITAS, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, the XMM-Newton X-ray Observatory, the Laser Interferometric Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) and the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational-waves (NANOGrav).  Penn State is also heavily involved in the development of the Astrophysical Multimessenger Observatory Network (AMON), which will correlate signals from across all these high-energy multi messengers in real-time.