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Dr. Nergis MavalvalaMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyLecture Title: Exploring the Warped Side of the Universe Learn about a journey that goes from the far reaches of the Universe down to the subatomic world. Some of the most violent events in the Universe are accompanied by spectacular warpages in the space-time fabric that result in space-time “ripples” that travel in the form of gravitational waves. Thus far, scientists have not been able to directly measure these ripples. Dr. Nergis Mavalvala will describe the search for these space-time ripples with the goal of observing the Universe in a completely new and different way. Paradoxically, the quest to detect gravitational waves from the enormous, distant Universe is linked to the bizarre and very small world of quantum mechanics, thus connecting some of the largest scales of exploration to some of the smallest. Nergis Mavalvala is a physicist whose research links the world of quantum mechanics, usually apparent only at the atomic scale, with some of the most powerful, yet elusive, forces in the cosmos. She received a BA from Wellesley College in 1990 and a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1997. She was a postdoctoral fellow and research scientist at the California Institute of Technology between 1997 and 2002. Since 2002, she has been on the physics faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she is now a professor of physics and recipient of a 2010 MacArthur “Genius” Award. In her spare time, she loves to bicycle long distances, play squash, and hanging out with her 3-year-old son.
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