Our understanding of the universe is undergoing a paradigm shift with the detection of gravitaitonal waves in 2015, exactly hundred years after Einstein first predicted it. These waves are 4D ripples on the spacetime fabric and allow us to probe parts of universe that no telescope on earth has seen before.
My research is rooted among all parts of the machinery that allows us to do astronomy with these gravitational waves. As a numerical relativist, I solve Einstein's Equations on some of world's fastest supercomputers, which allows me to quantify the extreme gravity physics when two black holes collide (see image). Being a scientist working on the LIGO experiment, which detected the first gravitational waves, I design search techniques that allows me to find such colliding black holes in the universe. Based on the results from my searches, I provide constraints on the astrophysical population of black holes in our cosmos. My PhD thesis provided a framework for such end-to-end investigation in gravitational wave astronomy.
Just as more number of cell phone towers reduces call drops in a city, more LIGO-like detectors on earth help us identify phenomenon in cosmos to which we are currently blind, such as intermediate mass black holes formed from the very first generation of stars. In particular I am very much excited for the LIGO detector being built in India (by ~2020) and prospects of future space detectors like LISA (by 2034).