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Professor Bernard Schutz

Professor Bernard Schutz

Deputy Director, Data Innovation Research Institute
Gravitational Physics Group

School of Computer Science and Informatics

School of Physics and Astronomy

+44 (0)29 2087 4812
DIRI, Trevithick Building, The Parade, Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 3AA

I hold a half-time professorship at Cardiff University, 25% in the School of Physics and Astronomy, and 25% in the Data Innovation Research Institute (DIRI), of which I was previously the director. My work in Physics is primarily on gravitational wave detection and astronomy; I am a senior member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. Around 1990, my Cardiff group was the first to develop and apply techniques to recognise weak gravitational wave signals buried in noise. Two decades later this led to my interest in Big Data, which is the research area of the DIRI. At the DIRI I am interested in the use of artificial intelligence to find hidden information in any kind of data. I am also an Emeritus Director of the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) in Potsdam, Germany, where I was a director from its founding in 1995 until my retirement in 2014. While there, I established in 1998 the open-access journal Living Reviews in Relativity, which has become the highest-impact open-access journal in the world. My interests in open-access publishing, open data, and Big Data led to my becoming co-chair of the Reproducibility Interest Group of the international Research Data Alliance. Finally, I hold the position of Adjunct Professor of Physics at Georgia Institute of Technology in the USA.

I was born and educated in the USA, and came to Cardiff for my first academic teaching position as a lecturer in 1974. I had obtained my PhD in Physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1971, and had done postdoctoral work at Cambridge University and at Yale University before coming to Cardiff.

In 1995, then a full professor, I became part time in Cardiff to take a full time position as a director of the new Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) in Potsdam, Germany.

I retired from that position in 2014 and returned to Cardiff to help set up the new Data Innovation Research Institute, one of several University Research Institutes at Cardiff University. I stepped down from the directorship in 2017 but remain a member of the DIRI.

My research has been recognised by election to a number of learned societies,

  • Fellow, Learned Society of Wales (2011)
  • Member, Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina (2006) – Germany’s national academy
  • Member, Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden (2005)

and by other awards,

  • Honorary DSc, Glasgow University (2011)
  • Amaldi Gold Medal of the Italian Society for Gravitation (SIGRAV), 2006
  • Communitas Award, Max Planck Society (2013)
  • Fellow, International Society of General Relativity and Gravitation (2013)
  • Honorary Fellow, Royal Astronomical Society (UK, 2009)
  • Fellow, American Physical Society
  • Fellow, Institute of Physics (UK)


Honours and awards

  • Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, a member of the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina
  • member of the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences, Uppsala
  • I have been awarded the Amaldi Gold Medal of the Italian Society for Gravitation and the honorary degree of Doctor of Science by Glasgow University
  • Honorary Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society
  • Fellow of the International Society for General Relativity and Gravitation
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society
  • Fellow of the Institute of Physics (UK).





















I have taught general relativity and gravitational wave science to undergraduates and MSc students in the School of Physics and Astronmy and its predecessors for many years. My textbook, A First Course in General Relativity (Cambridge University Press) is one of the most widely used introductory texts in the subject worldwide. 

My principal research over the last 40 years has been in the study of the physics and astrophysics of possible gravitational wave sources, including black holes and neutron stars; and in methods of analyzing data from gravitational wave detectors to discover and study gravitational waves.

I am the Principal Investigator responsible for data analysis for the GEO600 collaboration, which is part of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. I am also a member of the Executive Committee of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration.

I am a member of the LISA Consortium, which guides the development of the ESA mission to place a gravitational wave detector in space. LISA is currently approved for launch in 2034.

Finally I have a strong interest in issues of open access, open data and Big Data in scientific research