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Quetta scientist, another Pakistani involved in gravitational waves discovery

Imran Khan, a young scientist, pursuing his PhD at Gran Sasso Science Institute (GSSI) in Italy, was one of the co-authors of the Physical Review Letter (PRL) paper, submitted to the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO).

Khan, a 25-year-old from Quetta, hails from a middle-class family based in Quetta.

Earlier, the news of Karachi-born professor Nergis Mavalvala who assisted the team of scientists in the historic detection of gravitational waves is already receiving tremendous viral jubilation. Nergis Mavalvala is a member of the US-based LIGO Scientific Collaboration, and played a major part in the research which is dubbed the century’s biggest finding by many.

Imran secured 892 marks in intermediate and then availed a scholarship from FAST Peshawar, to complete his Bachelors of Science (BS) in Telecommunication Engineering in 2011.

He was offered a scholarship in MS Optoelectronics and Photonics Engineering by a Turkish institute in 2015.

Imran Khan was a part of the 9 early-stage researchers and co-authors of the paper on the detection of gravitational waves. He was one of the eight people contributed by the Gran Sasso Science Institute and one of the youngest coauthors of the PRL paper. Gravitational Waves are a part of the Einstein’s Theory of Relativity explains that as objects with mass move around in spacetime, the curvature changes to reflect the changed locations of those objects and in certain circumstances, accelerating objects result in changes in this curvature.

These miniscule changes propagate outwards at the speed of light in a wave-like manner and are known as gravitational waves.

Strain in space

Gravitational waves are a measure of strain in space, an effect of the motion of large masses that stretches the fabric of space-time — a way of viewing space and time as a single, interweaved continuum.

They travel at the speed of light and cannot be stopped or blocked by anything.

As part of his theory of general relativity, Einstein said space-time could be compared to a net, bowing under the weight of an object.

When objects with mass accelerate, such as when two black holes spiral towards each other, they send gravitational waves out around them at the speed of light, like ripples emanating from a pebble thrown in a pond.

The strongest waves are caused by the most cataclysmic processes known to mankind — black holes coalescing, massive stars exploding, or the very birth of the Universe some 13.8 billion years ago.

While scientists have previously been able to calculate gravitational waves, they had never before seen one directly.

According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) David Shoemaker, the leader of the Advanced LIGO team, it looked just like physicists thought it would.



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