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Pakistani scientist plays crucial role in revolutionary scientific discovery

KARACHI: Dr. Nargis Mavalvala, an astrophysicist of Pakistani origin, was a team member of several scientists who observed ripples in gravitational waves.

The observation made by Dr. Nargis Mavalvala confirms Albert Einstein’s prediction of the theory of relativity and opens a new window on the cosmos.

Dr. Mavalvala was born in Karachi to a Parsi family. She went to the United States to acquire a BA degree in astronomy and physics.

Dr. Nargis Mavalvala has worked Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) Laboratory for building complex sensors that would detect ripples formed by the collision of blackholes more than a billion years ago.

The astrophysicist worked on gravitational waves when she was completing her graduation at the renowned Masuchusettes Institute of Technology but achieving the task was not that simple.

“I started graduate school working in cosmic microwave background, which is another area of astrophysics. The group I was working in was moving to another university, and so I was kind of shopping around and bumped into Rai Weiss”, she added

Rai Weiss had proposed designs based on which LIGO was formed.

Dr Mavalvala went deeper into research on gravitational waves following her meeting was Rai Weiss. She had already begun her work on building LIGO before she acquired her doctorate degree.

During her post-doctoral work at California Institute of Technology (CalTech) she focused on developing instruments before joining LIGO as in 2000. She was also an assistant professor at MIT’s physics department in 2002 and went on to become the department’s associate head in February 2015.

The scientist could become mayor of Oslo as well.

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