DR. KARAN JANI

Astrophysicist
LIGO Scientist
Education Policy Advisor
National Security Fellow
Forbes 30-Under-30 2017

 
 
 
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Dr. Karan Jani is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Center for Relativistic Astrophysics at the Georgia Institute of Technology and a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. He received his B.S in Physics, B.S. in Astronomy & Astrophysics and a Minor in Mathematics from the Pennsylvania State University in 2011, and his Ph.D. in Physics from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2017.

Listed by the Forbes as 30 scientist under the age of 30 that are changing the world, Jani's primary research focus in Astrophysics involves understanding the black holes in our universe and testing Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. He was part of a global team of researchers who helped discover the existence of gravitational waves. Because of his contributions, Karan was named a recipient of the 2016 Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics awarded by Stephen Hawking. Jani was asked to meet with the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, to discuss the findings and the greater role of expanding his research in India. 

As a Senator Sam Nunn Security Fellow (funded by the MacArthur Foundation), Jani conducted independent research on the interface of space diplomacy and big data sciences with National Security policies. During graduate school, Jani was appointed the Vice President of the Graduate Student Government of the Georgia Institute of Technology, chaired institute-wide committees on budget and was appointed by the Office of Provost to revise the mandatory Technology Fee. He currently serves as an Education Policy advisor to the Government of Gujarat (India) on their Student Startup and Innovation Policy, and is an invited member in the board governance of universities and K-12 schools in India. 

Over the last decade, Jani has held formal research appointments at the LIGO Livingston Observatory (USA), Center for International Strategy, Technology & Policy (USA), Albert Einstein Institute (Germany), the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (Canada) and the Institute of Gravitation & Cosmos (USA). 

Jani is a TED Speaker, a recipient of the Distinguished Student Travel Award from the American Physical Society, and has been invited to speak at government and industry summits, as well as at major universities and research institutes in India and the US. His work has been featured in international press including CNN, Forbes, Times of India, and is an invited columnist at the Huffington Post, The Wire among others.

 

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

 

Academic Appointments

 

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

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

LIGO Scientific Collaboration Fellow 
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

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

Research Intern in Quantum Gravity
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Waterloo, Canada
2009

Research Intern
Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute), Potsdam, Germany
2008

 

Honors and Awards

 

2017:

  • Inaugural TED Talks Speaker 
  • Forbes 30 Under 30 , 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, share with the LIGO Scientific Collaboration "for the direct detection of ripples in space-time anticipated by Albert Einstein" 

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 LIGO Scientific Collaboration for Detection of Gravitational Waves
  • Plenary 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
  • Student Visitation Award from Indo-US Science & Technology Forum and American Physical Society
  • Silver Medal at University Physics Competition
  • Travel Award from University Physics Competition
  • 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 American Physical Society 

 

 

Leadership Roles

 

Advisory Committee to the Government of Gujarat, India
on Student Startup and Innovation Policy
Budget: $60 million over 5 years, Impact: 1.4 million students, Learn More 
2017 - Present

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

Board of Trustee at Shreyas Education Trust  
for their 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

Vice-President of Graduate Student Government  
Georgia Institute of Technology
2015 - 2017

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

Elections Director of Student Government Association 
Conducting graduate student election across all colleges and schools within
Georgia Institute of Technology
2015 - 2016

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

Graduate Student Senator
Representing School of Physics, Georgia Institute of Technology
2014 - 2015

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

 

Teaching and Advising

 

Student Guidance

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

  • William Wills, Georgia Tech, USA (Summer REU, Advisor: D. Shoemaker), 2016
  • Karan Patel, M. S. University, India (Advised on Honor's Thesis), 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


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

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

TED Talks India
"Gravitational Waves and LIGO-India"
Yashraj Studio, Mumbai, India, August, 2017

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

International Conclave on Higher Education, Vibrant Gujarat
Plenary 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

 

Invited Talks at Universities & Research Institutes

  1. Prof. P. C. Vaidya Centennial Lecture, Gujarat University | 2017
  2. NASA Goddard | 2017
  3. Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics & Cosmology, Stanford University | 2017
  4. Raja Ramanna Center for Advance Technologies (Nodal LIGO-India Institute) | 2017
  5. University of Mumbai | 2017
  6. Gujarat University | 2017
  7. Inter-University Center for Astronomy & Astrophysics (Nodal LIGO-India Institute) | 2016
  8. Institute of Plasma Research (Nodal LIGO-India Institute) | 2016
  9. Tata Institute of Fundamental Physics, India | 2016
  10. Physical Research Laboratory, India | 2016
  11. Visva-Bharat University (Shantiniketan), India | 2016
  12. Delhi University, India | 2016
  13. Jawaharlal Nehru University, India | 2016
  14. Maharaja Sayajirao University, India [Public Lecture,] | 2016
  15. Navrachana University, India [Public Lecture] | 2016
  16. Gujarat Technological University, India | 2016
  17. Vishwakarma Government Engineering College, India | 2016
  18. P. P. Savani Knowledge City, India | 2016
  19. Inter-University Center for Astronomy & Astrophysics (Delivered three lectures), India | 2016
  20. Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar | 2015
  21. Center for Theoretical Physics, Jamia Milia Islamia, India | 2014
  22. Young Researcher’s Conclave, Indian Institute of Technology | 2014
  23. Perimeter Institute of Technology, Canada [Link] | 2010
  24. Cardiff University, UK | 2009
 

Presentations at International Conferences & Symposiums

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

  2. 4th Annual Postdoc Symposium at Georgia Tech | 2017

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

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

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

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

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

  8. 18th East Coast Gravity Meeting, Rochester Institute of Technology | 2015

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

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

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

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