According to general relativity, gravitational waves are ripples in spacetime that are produced when massive astronomical objects suffer violent processes, like black hole collisions. These ripples travel almost unperturbed through the universe, and when they pass through the Michelson interferometers, they affect the fringes in them. Being able the "view" the universe through these ripples of spacetime will open a complete new window to the universe.
I have been a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC)
since 1997, and in 2011 I was elected as its spokesperson, a position I served until 2017. My group is
involved with the characterization of the noise in the LIGO detectors,
the calibration of the detectors, and with the analysis of the
data. In analyzing the data, I search for the waves produced by binary
systems of compact
stars in the last orbits of their
cosmic dance, before coalescing into a single black hole.You can find
out more about me below, and more about the science of gravitational
waves in ligo.org, in the complete
publications of the LSC, and in the description of our latest results.
I am married to Jorge Pullin, who is the Hearne Chair Professor of Physics at LSU. I guess we are a living example that Einstein was wrong when he said that gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love, since we met studying his gravity theory! You can read some details about our story in Physics World .
You can find me in the movies too! Not in Hollywood, but in a brief documentary movie made by the National Science Foundation, called "Einstein's Messengers", and in a video posted in a very nice web documentary made by the American Museum of Natural History in one of their Science Bulletins (look for the Astro feature story in Nov 2004). If you want any further information, contact me!