Members of The Optical Society Inducted into the 2018 National Academy of Sciences

2 May 2017

Members of The Optical Society Inducted into the 2018 National Academy of Sciences

Leaders in Gravitational Wave Science, Nergis Mavalvala and Gabriela González, Selected for Elite Honorary Society

WASHINGTON – The National Academy of Sciences (NAS), a private organization dedicated to the furtherance of science, today announced the election of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates.  Those elected today bring the total number of active members to 2,290 and the total number of foreign associates to 475. Election to membership in the Academy is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded a scientist or engineer.

The Optical Society (OSA) is proud to announce that OSA Fellow, Nergis Mavalvala, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and OSA member, Gabriela González, Louisiana State University, were among those selected for the 2018 class. Both women were elected for their contributions to the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and the discovery of gravitational waves in 2015.

About Dr. Gabriela González
Gabriela González, an OSA member and Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Louisiana State University, has been involved with the LIGO project since 1997. She is a founding member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC), an international group of more than 1,000 scientists seeking to use the detection of gravitational waves as a tool for astronomical discovery and the exploration of the fundamental physics of gravity, and became the group’s spokesperson in 2011. González has worked with the LIGO Livingston Observatory since 2001, and is involved in the calibration of the LIGO detectors and analyzing the data collected.

About Dr. Nergis Mavalvala
Nergis Mavalvala is an OSA Fellow and Marble Professor of Astrophysics at MIT, as well as a 2010 recipient of a MacArthur “genius” award. As a physicist whose research focuses on the detection of gravitational waves, she is a longstanding member of the scientific team that announced the first direct detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes by LIGO. Mavalvala has also conducted pioneering experiments on generation and application of squeezed states of light, and on laser cooling and trapping of macroscopic objects to enable observation of quantum phenomena in human-scale systems. She was a postdoctoral fellow and research scientist at the California Institute of Technology before joining the MIT physics faculty in 2002. 

Hear more from Dr. Nergis Mavalvala at CLEO 2017, San Jose, California, USA
Gravitational Wave Detectors of the Future: Beyond the First LIGO Discoveries
Tuesday, 16 May, 10:30-11:30, Grand Ballroom, San Jose Convention Center

In February 2016, scientists announced the first ever detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes, launching a new era of gravitational wave astronomy and unprecedented tests of Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Searching for fainter or more distant sources requires ever greater sensitivity for the laser interferometric detectors that made these first discoveries. At CLEO, Mavalvala will describe current efforts to improve the sensitivity of gravitational wave detectors and their prospects for future discoveries.

About The Optical Society
Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional organization for scientists, engineers, students and entrepreneurs who fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate achievements in the science of light. Through world-renowned publications, meetings and membership initiatives, OSA provides quality research, inspired interactions and dedicated resources for its extensive global network of optics and photonics experts. For more information, visit
About CLEO
With a distinguished history as the industry's leading event in laser science, the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO) is the premier international forum for scientific and technical optics, uniting the fields of lasers and opto-electronics by bringing together all aspects of laser technology, from basic research to industry applications. CLEO: Expo showcases the latest products and applications from more than 200 participating companies, providing hands-on demonstrations of the latest market innovations and applications. The Expo also offers valuable on-floor programming, including Market Focus and the Technology Transfer programs.
Managed by The Optical Society (OSA) and co-sponsored by the American Physical Society's Laser Science Division, IEEE Photonics Society and OSA, CLEO provides the full range of critical developments in the field, showcasing the most significant milestones from laboratory to marketplace. With an unparalleled breadth and depth of coverage, CLEO connects all of the critical vertical markets in lasers and electro-optics. For more information, visit the event website at CLEO 2018 will take place 13-18 May at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, California, USA.

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