Pak born scientist played significant role in discovery of gravitational waves

, 3:15 PM IST

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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