Prof. Dr. Gerhard Schäfer

Scientific Interests

  • Gravitational physics
  • Quantum field theory
  • Fundamental Physics

Curriculum Vitae

  • 1948 born in Mühlacker, Germany
  • 1972 Diploma in Physics, University of Tübingen (thesis: Zur Normiering von Bosonenfunktionalen in der nichtlinearen Spinortheorie)
  • 1976 Dr. rer. nat. in Physics, University of Konstanz(thesis: Quantenmechanik des gebundenen Dirac-Feldes in gekrümmten Raum-Zeiten)
  • 1983 Habilitation in Theoretical Physics, University of Konstanz

Professional Activities

  • 1990-1994 Chairman, Fachverband "Gravitation und Relativitätstheorie'' (DPG, Bad Honnef)
  • 1994 Topical Team V "Fundamental Physics'', European Space Agency (ESA, Paris)
  • 1997-2000 Fundamental Physics Advisory Group (ESA, Paris)
  • 1999-2011 Review Panel "Extraterrestrik'', Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR, Bonn)
  • 2000-2002 Astronomy Working Group (ESA, Paris)
  • 2000-2003 Local Coord., EU-Network "Theoretical Foundations of Sources for Gravitational Wave Astronomy''
  • 2003-2013 Deputy Speaker, DFG-SFB/Transregio 7 "Gravitational Wave Astronomy", lead FSU Jena
  • 2003-2013 Director of the Institute of Theoretical Physics, FSU Jena
  • 2005-2010 Senat der Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena (FSU Jena)
  • 2005-2018 Chairman, Scientific Advisory Council, Physikzentrum Bad Honnef (DPG, Bad Honnef)
  • 2005-2018 Kuratorium Physikzentrum Bad Honnef (DPG, Bad Honnef), ex officio
  • 2009-2013 PI in DFG-Research Training Group (GRK 1523/1) "Quantum and Gravitational Fields", FSU Jena
  • 2011-2013 Dean of Student Affairs, Department of Physics and Astronomy, FSU Jena
  • 2016-2018 Editorial Board, Physical Review D (APS)


  • 1986 Heisenberg fellowship (DFG)
  • 2013 Outstanding Referee of the American Physical Society (APS)
  • 2016 Ehrennadel der Deutschen Physikalischen Gesellschaft (DPG)

Academic Positions/Titles

  • 1977-1986 Wissenschaftlicher Assistent, University of Konstanz (Heinz Dehnen)
  • 1984-2000 Privatdozent for Theoretical Physics, University of Konstanz
  • 1986-1991 Heisenberg fellow of the German Research Foundation (DFG, Bonn)
    -- 1986-88 Observatoire de Paris-Meudon (Brandon Carter)
    -- 1988-91 Max-Planck Institute for Astrophysics (Jürgen Ehlers)
  • 1991-1992 Max-Planck Institute for Astrophysics, Garching
  • 1992-1996 Max-Planck Working Group (C3 post) "Gravitational Theory'' at FSU Jena
  • 1997-2000 Debuty Professorships in Astrophysics and Theoretical Physics, FSU Jena
  • 1999- außerplanmäßiger Professor, FSU Jena
  • 2000-2013 Hochschuldozentur für Relativistische Astrophysik, FSU Jena
  • 10/2013- retired


  • 1979- German Physical Society (DPG)
  • 1991- International Astronomical Union (IAU)
  • 1992- German Astronomical Society (AG)
  • 1997- European Physical Society (EPS)
  • 2016-2018 American Physical Society (APS), ex officio

Publications and Teaching

  • Most of my publications may be found in: HEP - INSPIRE-HEPExternal link
  • Experimental science involvement: proposal for GW detectorExternal link
  • Impact paper: External-Internal-Dynamics Decoupling
  • Personal account in: INSIDE VIEWSExternal link; reference "DeWitt" in: Thibault Damour and GS, Redefinition of position variables and the reduction of higher order lagrangians, Journ. Math. Phys. (1991) 32, 127-134
  • Participation in the Effective One-Body formalism: EOBExternal link

Most recent publications:

Citation in: Scientific Background on the Nobel Prize in Physics 2017, Ref. 22, link

Selected research highlights​

  • New expression for the gravitational quadrupole radiation-reaction force (1982). Useful for numerical relativity
  • Clarification of the use of equations of motion in perturbative Lagrangians (1984). Indispensable tool in higher order post-Newtonian (PN) calculations
  • Completion of the 2PN binary dynamics (1985) and first correct periastron advance calculation at 2PN including spin-orbit coupling (1988). With T. Damour
  • New tests of the strong equivalence principle using binary pulsars (1991). With T. Damour
  • Orbital period change for compact binaries through 1.5PN order including tail contributions from back scattering (1993). With L. Blanchet
  • Analytic solution of the binary orbital motion through 2PN order (1993). With N. Wex
  • Last stable circular orbit at 3PN and effective one-body formalism (2000). With T. Damour and P. Jaranowski
  • First complete derivation of the 3PN dynamics for compact binaries (2001). Breakthrough by dimensional regularisation. With T. Damour and P. Jaranowski
  • Analytic solution of the binary orbital motion through 3PN order (2004). With A. Gopakumar and R.-M. Memmesheimer
  • Closed-form analytic gravitational n-body relativistic Hamiltonian linear in the Newtonian gravitational constant (2008). With J. Bicak and T. Ledwinka.
  • Effective one-body approach to the dynamics of two spinning black holes with next-to-leading order spin-orbit coupling (2008). With T. Damour and P. Jaranowski
  • Next-to-leading order spin-spin Hamiltonian and spin-squared Hamiltonian for binary black holes (2008). With S. Hergt and J. Steinhoff
  • Hamiltonian of self-gravitating n-body systems linear in the single spins (2009). With J. Steinhoff
  • First derivation of the 4PN non-local-in-time dynamics for compact binaries (2014). With T. Damour and P. Jaranowski


Gerhard Schäfer, apl. Prof. Dr
G. Schäfer
Image: G. Schäfer