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Contact: Peter Genzer, (631) 344-3174  |  Written by Joe Gettlershare:

NOTE: This BSA Distinguished Lecturer, Nergis Mavalvala, is a member of the collaboration named with the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics, which was announced four days after this news release was issued.

BSA Distinguished Lecture on Wednesday, 10/11: 'The Warped Universe: The One-Hundred-Year Quest to Discover Einstein's Gravitational Waves'

Nergis Mavalvala

Click on the image to download a high-resolution version. Nergis Mavalvala (Photo: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation)

Nergis Mavalvala, an astrophysicist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a MacArthur "Genius," will present a BSA Distinguished Lecture at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory on Wednesday, Oct. 11. Mavalvala's talk, titled "The Warped Universe: The One Hundred-Year Quest to Discover Einstein’s Gravitational Waves," will be held at 4 p.m. in Berkner Hall. This lecture is part of the Brookhaven Forum 2017, a program for scientists to discuss developments in particle physics and cosmology.

On Sept. 14, 2015, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory's (LIGO) detectors in the states of Louisiana and Washington identified minuscule disturbances in space—gravitational waves produced from a cataclysmic collision between two black holes an estimated 1.3 billion years ago. Einstein predicted gravitational waves in 1916. Now that they have been observed and confirmed several times since, our understanding of gravity and space can no longer be the same.

During this BSA Distinguished Lecture, Mavalvala will describe the science, technology, and human stories behind these discoveries, providing a window into some of the most violent and warped events in the Universe.

About the Speaker

Nergis Mavalvala is the Marble Professor of Astrophysics at MIT. A physicist whose research connects the ultra-small quantum world with some of the most powerful forces in the cosmos, Mavalvala was named a MacArthur “Genius” fellowship in 2010. She has worked on detecting gravitational waves for decades and is a longtime member of the LIGO team that announced the first direct detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes. Mavalvala earned a bachelor's degree from Wellesley College in 1990 and a Ph.D. from MIT in 1997. She was a postdoctoral fellow and research scientist at the California Institute of Technology before joining the Physics faculty at MIT in 2002. 

About BSA Distinguished Lectures

BSA Distinguished Lectures are sponsored by Brookhaven Science Associates, the company that manages Brookhaven Lab, to present topics of general interest to the Laboratory community and the public. These lectures are free and open to the public. All visitors to the Laboratory 16 and older must bring a photo ID.

This lecture is scheduled to be webcast live and archived on WBNL.

The Laboratory is located on William Floyd Parkway, one-and-a-half miles north of Exit 68 of the Long Island Expressway. A map and directions to Berkner Hall are available online.

For more information, call (631) 344-2345.

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