Astrophysics Research

A new chapter has opened in our understanding of the cosmos since the direct detection of gravitational waves in 2015, exactly a hundred years after Einstein predicted their existence. These waves are ripples on the spacetime fabric. The information carried with them 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 from my simulation). Being a scientist with the LIGO experiment, which made the first direct detection of 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 universe.  My PhD thesis provided a framework for such end-to-end investigation of black holes 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 the intermediate-mass black holes formed from the very first generation of stars. I am engaged with two such initiatives - the LIGO detector being built in India (by ~2025) and the proposed space-mission LISA (by ~2034). 

Learn more about my work on numerical relativity, gravitational wave astronomy, LIGO and future detectors through scientific publications, popular science articles and video lectures

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Education Policy Work

I actively engage and advise various institutes and forums for reforming education policies.  Currently, I serve on the advisory committee of the Government of Gujarat (India) on their ambitious Student Startup Innovation Policy. I was one of the Distinguished Speakers at the recently held International Conclave for Higher Education, where I spoke about "Building Institutions of Higher Education for Innovation"

For last few years, I have been volunteering in K-12 schools in my hometown to redefine their science, mathematics and computer education. I also lead a team principals and teachers to devise a central policy where academic and administrative duties of schools can be handled by teachers. This was a step towards my long standing belief of making K-12 schools in India independent of management and government policy swings.      

As a Vice-President of the Student Body of Georgia Institute of Technology for two consecutive terms, I served on institute-wide committees on budget, was appointed by Office of Provosts to redefine allocation of mandatory fees ($6M budget) and served as director of campus-wide student election. A list of leadership roles and services I held at Georgia Tech can be found here

If you wish to collaborate on ideas, technologies and policies that can change the current scenario of education then please do reach out!


Science Policy

Named after the legendary United States Senator Sam Nunn, I held a fellowship funded by the MacArthur Foundation at the Center for International Strategy, Technology and Policy (USA) to study the interface of science and technology with national security policies. 

I am interested in exploring the role on diplomacy and international cooperations can play in strengthening long-term space-science missions. In an earlier study, I reviewed the case of Indian Space Research Organization and the International Space Station.  My other major interest is to framing national policies for emerging technologies. In a recently published study, I highlighted the scope of big data science for Intelligence Community.

I am interested to collaborate with government agencies and think tanks to explore both these topics.