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Pak born scientist played significant role in discovery of gravitational waves

ANI  |  Karachi 

Pakistani-born astrophysicist Dr Nergis Mavalvala was among the team of eagled-eyed scientists who, for the first time, observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves.

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The detection announced on Thursday confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein's 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos, reports Dawn.

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Professor Mavalvala worked with researchers at the US-based underground detectors Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) Laboratory to build sophisticated sensors to detect gravitational ripples.

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Dr Mavalvala, 47, was born to a Parsi family in where she did her primary schooling.

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She attended the Convent of Jesus and Mary before going to the US as a teenager where she graduated with a BA in physics and astronomy from the Wellesley College in 1990.

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During her graduation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) she started working on gravitational waves which would lead her to one of the biggest discoveries of the century.

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By the time Nergis received her PhD in 1997, she was already working on building LIGO.

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She focused on instrument development for LIGO during her post-doctoral work at California Institute of Technology (CalTech) before joining LIGO as a staff scientist in 2000.

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Nergis also joined MIT's physics department as an assistant professor in 2002, rising to become the department's associate head in February 2015.

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In essence, her work on gravitational waves has spanned for over 20 years leading to the path-breaking discovery .

First Published: Sat, February 13 2016. 15:06 IST
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