DR. KARAN JANI

Astrophysicist
LIGO Scientist
Education Policy Advisor
National Security Fellow
Forbes 30-Under-30
TED Speaker

 
 
 
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Dr. Karan Jani is a postdoctoral research fellow in Astrophysics and a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. His primary research focuses on astrophysical black holes and testing Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. He was part of a global team of scientists who helped discover the existence of gravitational waves, which was awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics. Dr. Jani also shares research interests on the interface of space diplomacy and big data science with national security policies.  

Over the last decade, Jani has held multiple academic research appointments and serves on the advisory roles in education institutes. He is a co-author of 60+ scientific publications and is an invited columnist at the Huffington Post among others. He has given 40+ invited talks at universities, government summits, and media conclaves - including at the Official TED Conference, Forbes Global Under 30 Sumit and the International Conclave for Higher Education. Jani also served as the Student Vice-President of the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Jani is a co-recipient of the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, MacArthur Foundation's Senator Sam Nunn Fellowship in National Security and Distinguished Student Travel Award from the American Physical Society. He was invited to meet with the Hon. Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, to discuss the greater role of expanding his research in India.

Dr. Jani is an alumni of the Maharaja Sayajirao University, Pennsylvania State University and Georgia Institute of Technology, has three advanced degrees in physics, astronomy & astrophysics, and a Ph.D. in Black Hole Physics. The Forbes magazine listed Dr. Jani as one of "30 influential scientists under 30"  and was voted as the Tech Personality of The Year (Viewer’s Choice) by CNN-News18.  

 
 

Curriculum Vitae

 
 

Education

 

Ph.D. in Physics
Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
Thesis: "Journey of Binary Black Holes: From Supercomputers to LIGO to Universe"  
Advisor: Prof. Deirdre Shoemaker
2012-2017

B.S. in Physics
B.S. in Astronomy and Astrophysics
Minor in Mathematics

Pennsylvania State University, USA
Project: "Orbital Configuration of LISA-like Space-Based Gravitational Wave Detectors"  
Advisor: Prof. Lee Sam Finn
2007-2011

B.Sc Physics (F.Y.)
Maharaja Sayajirao University, India
2006-2007

Gujarat State Higher Education Board
Shreyas Vidyalaya, India
2006

 

Research Appointments

 

Postdoctoral Research Fellow 
Center for Relativistic Astrophysics,
Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
2017-Present

LIGO Scientific Collaboration Fellow 
Resident at LIGO Livingston Observatory,
California Institute of Technology, USA
2016

Sam Nunn Security Fellow 
Center for International Strategy, Technology and Policy
Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
2015-2016

PhD Researcher
School of Physics, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
2012-2017

Visiting Researcher
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
Quantum Gravity division, Canada
2010

Visiting Researcher
Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics
(Albert Einstein Institute), Germany
2009

Research Assistant
Institute for Gravitation and Cosmos,
Pennsylvania State University, USA
2008-2012

 

Honors, Awards and Grants

 

2018:

  • Invited Speaker at the Official TED Conference

2017:

  • CNN-News18 Tech Personality of The Year (Viewer's Choice Winner)

  • Forbes 30 Under 30 in Science, Today's Leading Young Change Makers and Innovators

  • Office of Executive Vice President of Research Award (Top Prize) at the 4th Annual Postdoctoral Research Symposium, Georgia Institute of Technology

  • Career, Research, and Innovation Development Conference (Top Prize from College of Science) at Georgia Institute of Technology

  • Princess of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research, shared with the LIGO Scientific Collaboration "for the direct detection of ripples in space-time anticipated by Albert Einstein"

  • Bruno Rossi Prize from the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society (shared with the LIGO Scientific Collaboration)

  • Einstein Medal awarded by the Einstein Society in Bern, Switzerland (shared with the LIGO Scientific Collaboration)

2016:

  • Invited to Meet the Honorable Prime Minster of India, Shri Narendra Modi, for LIGO-India MoU, Washington, DC

  • Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for "The Observation of Gravitational Waves, Opening New Horizons in Astronomy & Physics"

  • Gruber Foundation Cosmology Prize, co-Recipient as part of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration for Detection of Gravitational Waves

  • Invited Speaker at the International Conclave On Higher Education, Vibrant Gujarat Summit, India

  • Public Lecture at the Ministry of Earth Sciences of Government of India, New Delhi, India

2015:

  • Sam Nunn Security Fellowship from Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, USA

  • Distinguished Student Travel Award by American Physical Society & Forum of International Physics

  • Three Minute Thesis Competition (Finalist) at Georgia Institute of Technology,

2009-2014:

  • Vanderbilt University Prize (National Finalist) for Undergraduate Research in Physics & Astronomy

  • Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics - selected for their prestigious Undergraduate Research Program

  • Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Wave Physics - Invited as a visiting researcher

  • Student Visitation Award from the Indo-US Science & Technology Forum and American Physical Society

  • International Grant-in-Aid for Academic Performance at Penn State University

  • Silver Medal at University Physics Competition

  • Travel Award from American Institute of Physics

  • First Prize in Physical Sciences at Undergraduate Research Exhibition, Pennsylvania State University

  • Best Poster on Display at Astronomy & Astrophysics Undergraduate Research Symposium, Pennsylvania State University

  • Marsh W. White Outreach Award from the American Physical Society

 

 

Leadership, Service and Advisory Appointments

 

@ Georgia institute of technology (EST: 1885)

  • Einstein Programming Committee
    2016 - Present

  • Appointee by the Office of Provost at Georgia Institute of Technology
    for Technology Fee Working Group, Budget: $6 Million annually, Learn More
    2015 - 2017

  • Vice-President of Graduate Student Government
    2015 - 2017

  • Co-Chair of Institute-wide Technology Fee Committee
    Allocating annual budget of $6 million
    2014 - 2015

  • Elections Director of Student Government Association
    Conducting graduate student election across all colleges and schools
    2015 - 2016

  • Treasurer of Joint Finance Committee
    Reviewing annual budget of $6 million for student activities fees
    2015

  • Graduate Student Senator
    Representing School of Physics
    2014 - 2015

  • Co-Founder & Vice-President of India Club’s Graduate Body
    Largest student organization at Georgia Institute of Technology
    2014


@ LIGO Scientific collaboration

  • Liaison between Numerical Relativity and Intermediate Mass Black Hole Working Groups
    2017 - Present

  • Liaison between Burst Working Group and Gravitaitonal Wave Catalog Paper
    2017 - Present

  • Reviewer for NASA-Fermi Team Paper on First Binary Neutron Star Merger
    2017

  • On-site LSC fellow at LIGO Livingston Observatory
    2016

  • Paper Writing Team for Intermediate Mass Black Hole Search in LIGO
    2015-2017

@ India

  • Advisory Committee to the Government of Gujarat, India
    on Student Startup and Innovation Policy
    Budget: $3 million over 5 years, Impact: 1.4 million students, Learn More
    2017 - Present

  • Board of Trustee at Shreyas Education Trust (Est: 1965)
    Three K-12 schools in Vadodara, India
    Impact: 200+ full-time teachers, 6000+ students, Learn More
    2015 - Present

  • Board of Governance at P. P. Savani University
    Gujarat, India Learn More
    2017 - Present

 

Teaching and Advising

 

Student Guidance

  • Grace Kim, Georgia Tech (Undergraduate Research Project), 2017 - Present

  • Sam Lehman, Georgia Tech (Undergraduate Research Project), 2017 - Present

  • William Wills, Georgia Tech, USA (Summer REU, Advisor: D. Shoemaker), 2016-Present

  • Heena Luthra, Amity University, India (Advisor on Master's Thesis), 2016 - 2017

  • Shivan Mittal, Georgia Tech (Undergraduate Research Project), 2017 - 2018

  • Karan Patel, M. S. University, India (Advised on Honor's Project, Now at Leibniz Universität), 2016

  • Ankit Maisuriya, M.S. University, India (Mentor for SpaceX Student Club), 2016

 

teaching experience

Head Teaching Assistant, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA:

  • Vertically-Integrated Projects Program on LIGO data analysis, undergraduate class, Fall 2017

Graduate Teaching Assistant, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA:

  • PHYS 3123: "Advanced Electrodynamics", undergraduate class, Fall 2015

  • PHYS 3266: "Computational Physics", undergraduate class, Fall 2014

  • PHYS 2212: "Introductory Electromagnetism", undergraduate class, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Summer 2013, Fall 2013

Undergraduate Teaching Assistant, Pennsylvania State University, USA:

  • PHYS 214: "Wave Motion & Quantum Physics", undergraduate class, Spring 2011

  • PHYS 212: "Introductory Electromagnetism", undergraduate class, Spring 2011

 

Speaking Engagments

 

Invited Talks at Government, Industries & Media

TED Talks India Nayi Soch
"Listening to the Universe"
Yashraj Studio, Mumbai, India, January, 2018

Global Forbes Under 30 Summit
"Secrets of The Universe"
Boston, MA, October, 2017 

Google X Labs 
“Q&A on First Joint Detection on Gravitational Waves & Light" 
Mountain View, CA. October 2017

United States Consulate General in Mumbai and Nehru Science Center
"Kathak of Cosmic Black Holes"
Mumbai, India, August, 2017  

Documentary For Doordarshan
"Nobel Minds"
Science City, Gujarat, India, January, 2017

International Conclave on Higher Education, Vibrant Gujarat
Talk: "Building Institution of Higher Education for Innovation"
Gandhinagar, India, October, 2016

Confederation of Indian Industries 
Special Event: “Interface of Mega Science Projects with Industries”
Laxmi Vilas Palace, Vadodara, August, 2016

Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India
Public Lecture: “How We Proved Einstein Right After 100 Years (& why every Indian should care)”
Prithvi Bhavan, New Delhi, August, 2016

 

Memorial Lectures

P. C. Vaidya Memorial Lecture
Maharaja Sayajirao University, 2018

R. H. Jani Memorial Lecture
"બ્રહ્માંડ મારી દ્રષિટિએ"
Shreyas Education Trust, 2018

Prof. P. C. Vaidya Centennial Lecture
Gujarat University, 2017

 

Invited Talks at Universities & Research Institutes

  1. Machine Learning in Sciences and Engineering Conference [Invited Speaker on behalf of LIGO]
    Carnegie Mellon University, USA | 2018

  2. California Institute of Technology (GW Data-analysis group) | 2018

  3. NASA Goddard | 2017

  4. Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics & Cosmology, Stanford University | 2017

  5. Raja Ramanna Center for Advance Technologies (Nodal LIGO-India Institute) | 2017

  6. Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar | 2015

  7. University of Mumbai | 2017

  8. Gujarat University | 2017

  9. Tata Institute of Fundamental Physics, India | 2017

  10. Inter-University Center for Astronomy & Astrophysics (Nodal LIGO-India Institute) | 2016

  11. Institute of Plasma Research (Nodal LIGO-India Institute) | 2016

  12. Physical Research Laboratory, India | 2016

  13. Visva-Bharat University (Shantiniketan), India | 2016

  14. Delhi University, India | 2016

  15. Jawaharlal Nehru University, India | 2016

  16. Maharaja Sayajirao University, India [Public Lecture,] | 2016

  17. Navrachana University, India [Public Lecture] | 2016

  18. Gujarat Technological University, India | 2016

  19. Vishwakarma Government Engineering College, India | 2016

  20. P. P. Savani Knowledge City, India | 2016

  21. Inter-University Center for Astronomy & Astrophysics (Delivered three lectures), India | 2016

  22. Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar | 2015

  23. Center for Theoretical Physics, Jamia Milia Islamia, India | 2014

  24. Young Researcher’s Conclave, Indian Institute of Technology | 2014

  25. Perimeter Institute of Technology, Canada | 2010

  26. Cardiff University, UK | 2009

 

Presentations at International Conferences & MEETINGS

  1. International LISA Symposium, Chicago, USA | 2018

  2. LIGO-Virgo Collaboration Meeting at Sonoma State University, USA | 2018

  3. LIGO-Virgo Collaboration Meeting at CERN, Geneva | 2017

  4. 4th Annual Postdoc Symposium at Georgia Tech [Best Talk] | 2017

  5. Career Research and Innovation Development Conference at Georgia Tech [Best Poster Award] | 2017

  6. LIGO-Virgo Collaboration Meeting, Glasgow, UK | 2016

  7. American Physical Society Meeting, Salt Lake City, USA | 2016

  8. LIGO-Virgo Collaboration Meeting, Pasadena, USA | 2016

  9. LIGO-Virgo Collaboration Meeting, Budapest, Hungary | 2015

  10. 18th East Coast Gravity Meeting, Rochester Institute of Technology | 2015

  11. American Physical Society Meeting, Savannah, USA | 2014

  12. Gravitational Wave Physics & Astronomy Workshop, Pune, India | 2013

  13. American Physical Society Meeting, Salt Lake City, USA [Poster] | 2010

  14. Sigma Pi Sigma Quadrennial Congress 2008, Fermi National Laboratory [Poster] | 2008

Publications

 

Scientific Publications (60+ papers in international physics journals, 13,000+ citations)

Invited Columns & Op-Eds  in News Media