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NASA Achieves Breakthrough In Black Hole Simulation
Contributor Biographies And Photos

Dr. Joan Centrella / Chief, Gravitational Astrophysics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
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Dr. Joan Centrella / Chief, Gravitational Astrophysics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Left photo: Gravitational Astrophysics Lab Team. From left to right: Michael Koppitz, Jim van Meter, Joan Centrella, and John Baker. Not pictured: Dae-Il "Dale" Choi. Credit: Chris Gunn/ NASA

Joan Centrella received her PhD from Cambridge University, where she was a student at the Institute of Astronomy. Following postdoctoral appointments at the University of Texas and the University of Illinois, she joined the faculty of Drexel University in the Physics Department. In 2001, she moved to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center to join their newly-formed gravitational wave astrophysics group, where she leads their source modeling and numerical relativity effort in support of LISA. In 2004 she became head of the Gravitational Astrophysics Laboratory, which encompasses the gravitational wave and theoretical astrophysics groups at Goddard. She is a fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and currently serves on the LISA International Science Team and Executive Committee of the Division of Astrophysics in the APS. Her research interests include black hole mergers, gravitational waves, numerical relativity, structure formation, and cosmology.
Dr. Peter Saulson Dr. Peter Saulson / Spokesperson of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, Syracuse University

Peter Saulson has been a member of the team developing LIGO since he began a postdoc at MIT in 1981. He joined the faculty at Syracuse University in 1991, where his research has focused on interferometer technology and on gravitational wave data analysis. In 1994, he published the only textbook on interferometric gravitational wave detectors. Since 2003, he has served as the Spokesperson of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee for NASA’s Gravity Probe B satellite and of the Committee of the International Society of General Relativity and Gravitation. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and was the Syracuse University Scholar-Teacher of the Year in 2003. He earned his Ph.D. in Physics from Princeton University in 1981.
Larry Smarr
Dr. Larry Smarr / Professor and Director of California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, University of California San Diego

Larry Smarr is director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology and Harry E. Gruber professor in the Jacobs School’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering at UCSD. During his career, he has pursued basic research in a wide variety of fields, first in general relativity, then computational and observational astronomy, now in the computer science and electrical engineering of large-scale optical networks.

As founding director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and the National Computational Science Alliance, Smarr has driven major contributions to the development of the national information infrastructure: the Internet, the Web, the emerging Grid, collaboratories, and scientific visualization. His views have been quoted in Science, Nature, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, Fortune, and Business Week, and he gives frequent keynote addresses at professional conferences and to popular audiences.

He was a member of the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee and served until 2005 on the Advisory Committee to the Director of the National Institutes of Health and the NASA Advisory Council. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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