^{2}), and the motion of objects in curved space-time. Superficially these two fields look very different, but Special Relativity can be considered as the limit of General Relativity when there is no curvature of space-time.

Special Relativity is now well understood and only little research is still done in this field. General Relativity is a very active research area; current research includes the physics of black holes and neutron stars, the study of how specific mass distributions exactly curve space-time, cosmology (the early universe), and the search for a theory of everything (quantum gravity, string theory).

Research on relativity at our Department is rather special: it turns out that light in a dielectric medium (like a prism or an optical fibre) propagates in the same way as it would in a curved space-time. This means that one can use optical experiments to test or illustrate effects in curved space-time. Conversely, one can use the mathematical apparatus of relativity (namely, differential geometry) to describe optical experiments in curved optical fibres, for instance.

Department members working on relativity:

Peter Marzlin