May 3, 2016
Kate Dooley, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Mississippi, is an experimental gravitational wave physicist and member of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) Scientific Collaboration, whose recent discovery proved the existence of gravitational waves—originally predicted by Albert Einstein in his theory of general relativity. (The achievement was recently reported in the New York Times and other publications.) Dooley’s work focuses on the sensing and control of the mirrors in the interferometer as well as the incorporation of squeezed light. Her work helped to detect the first confirmed existence of gravitational waves—fluctuations or distortions in spacetime—in September when two black holes violently merged a billion light years away.