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Three Awarded NAS Scientific Discovery Award

Photonics Spectra
Apr 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Academy of Sciences has awarded Gabriela González, a professor of physics and astronomy at Louisiana State University (LSU), with its 2017 Award for Scientific Discovery.

Gabriela GonzalezGonzález was born and raised in Córdoba, Argentina. She studied physics at the University of Córdoba, and came to the U.S. to pursue her Ph.D. at Syracuse University. She worked as a staff scientist in the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology until 1997 when she joined the faculty at Penn State. In 2001, she joined the faculty at LSU. As an experimental physicist, her current research involves the reduction and characterization of noise to enhance laser interferometers' sensitivity to detect gravitational waves, calibrate the detectors and analyze data.

González is currently the elected spokesperson for LIGO scientific collaboration, which includes the work of 90 institutions and more than 1,000 researchers around the globe. Since its establishment in 1997, the spokesperson has led the organization that established and carried out the scientific program of LIGO.

González has served as the collaboration’s spokesperson for the past six years. She shares the award with former spokespersons David Howard Reitze, executive director of the LIGO Laboratory at California Institute of Technology and a professor of physics at the University of Florida, and Peter R. Saulson, Martin A. Pomerantz '37 Professor of Physics at Syracuse University.

The National Academy of Sciences’ Award for Scientific Discovery is presented every two years to recognize an accomplishment or discovery in basic research, achieved within the previous five years, that is expected to have a significant impact in the fields of astronomy, biochemistry, biophysics, chemistry, materials science or physics.

The scientific observation of celestial radiation that has reached the vicinity of Earth, and the interpretation of these observations to determine the characteristics of the extraterrestrial bodies and phenomena that have emitted the radiation.
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