OPEN – “A Tale of Two Physicists”

september, 2016

2016sat17sep10:30 amsat1:30 pmOPEN - "A Tale of Two Physicists"10:30 am - 1:30 pm CGIS South, Tsai Auditorium S010, Harvard University 1730 Cambridge St Cambridge, MA 02138

Event Details

Come join us for an enlightening fireside chat, at Harvard, between two unique physicists – one a string theorist and a science writer and the other an experimental physicist who played a key role in the discovery of gravitational waves. They will share their emotional bond with physics and how it has shaped their career paths. They will trace the pivotal moments of modern physics when radical new theories shifted our perception of the universe, and our place in it. They will highlight experiments that promise to revolutionize our centuries-old ways of observing the universe. And they will address questions that are so dear to entrepreneurs: Can these super-sophisticated experiments yield techniques and technologies that can be commercialized? Can entrepreneurs apply principles involved in the pursuit of physics in finding insights about their businesses that are not very intuitive, thus fine-tuning business strategy?

Speakers for this event

  • Nergis Mavalvala

    Nergis Mavalvala

    Marble Professor of Astrophysics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a 2010 recipient of a MacArthur “genius” award

    Nergis Mavalvala, Marble Professor of Astrophysics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a 2010 recipient of a MacArthur “genius” award, is a physicist whose research focuses on the detection of gravitational waves from violent events in the cosmos that warp and ripple the fabric of spacetime. Mavalvala is a member of the scientific team that in February 2016 announced the first direct detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes using the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors. As a member of the LIGO team, she shared in the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics (2016) and Gruber Prize in Cosmology (2016). Mavalvala has also conducted pioneering experiments to create and use exotic quantum states of light, and also to optically cool and trap centimeter-scale objects to enable observation of quantum phenomena in macroscopic objects. Mavalvala received her undergraduate degree from Wellesley College and her Ph.D. from MIT. After graduate school, she was a postdoctoral fellow and research scientist at the California Institute of Technology. In 2002 she returned to MIT as faculty. In her spare time, she loves to bicycle long distances, play squash, and spend time with her family.

    Marble Professor of Astrophysics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a 2010 recipient of a MacArthur “genius” award

  • Tasneem Zehra Husain

    Tasneem Zehra Husain

    theoretical physicist, writer and educator.

    Tasneem Zehra Husain is a theoretical physicist, writer and educator. Her debut novel “Only the Longest Threads” was appreciated by critics as “a fictional approach to physics that captures both the substance of the theory and the passion of its practitioners”. Husain’s research probes the realm of 11-dimensional supergravity, but she also has a more general interest in the history and philosophy of physics. Husain is fascinated by how we engage with scientific theories, and how that interaction changes us; she explores these themes in her fiction and nonfiction writing. Husain is concerned with issues in science education, and has conducted several workshops for school teachers. She is also actively involved in outreach, to students as well as lay audiences. After receiving her PhD in string theory from Stockholm University, Husain pursued post-doctoral research at Harvard University, before returning to Lahore as a founding faculty member at the LUMS School of Science & Engineering. She currently resides in Cambridge.

    theoretical physicist, writer and educator.

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