Come together to get inspired through talks, presentations and workshops. A great opportunity for networking as well. Our first guest of the year is Dr. Nergis Mavalvala. A Pakistani-American astrophysicist part of the Nobel Prize-winning LIGO team that observed gravitational waves. She is the Curtis and Kathleen Marble Professor of Astrophysics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she is also the Associate Head of the Department of Physics.
Mavalvala was among the team of scientists who, for the first time, observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves. It was announced to the public on 11 February 2016. The detection confirmed a major prediction of Albert Einstein's 1915 general theory of relativity.
The gravitational waves that LIGO detected are ripples in the spacetime fabric caused by the motion of compact, massive astrophysical objects such as black holes and neutron stars. Since the nature of gravitation is inherently different from electromagnetism, gravitational wave astrophysics provides a radically different window into the universe.
When she became a MacArthur fellow, former female students wrote to her saying that she was a model for what was possible for women.