In the general theory of relativity, gravity is understood to arise as a consequence of spacetime curvature. Gravitational Physics involves investigations into the mathematical foundations of the theory, the nature of space and time, and theory's relationship with quantum mechanics. Experimental tests are performed in the laboratory and space, and analysis is performed for observations from astrophysics and cosmology. Modern research in the field has expanded beyond studying classical solutions of the Einstein equation to cover a broad range of subject in astrophysics, cosmology, and quantum gravity. Experiments include high precision tests of gravitational effects and sensitive observations of gravitational phenomena from astrophysics.

# Gravitational Physics

The range of research topics under investigation by the Department of Physics include the characterization of gravitational waves, properties of neutron stars and black holes as sources for such waves, as well as waves of cosmological origin. Attempts to understand the quantum nature of gravity lead one to investigate black holes and their quantum mechanical radiation known as Hawking radiation as well as the stellar collapses which give rise to them in astrophysics. The formulation of models which parameterize possible violations of the symmetries of general relativity is an important part of the research effort, as well as the exploration of the experimental means to test them. In cosmology the characterization of dark matter and dark energy is an essential component of understanding the notion of space and time.

Experimental tests include measurements of the inverse square law in the micron range. Modifications to Newton's law at short range are predicted from many models that attempt to describe gravity and the other fundamental interactions in the same theoretical framework.