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This ScienceLives article was provided to LiveScience in partnership with the National Science Foundation.

Ever curious, Nergis Mavalava knew from a young age that she wanted a career that involved math and science. As a physics professor at MIT, she studies gravitational waves using the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) — the most sensitive meter ever operated. Although gravitational waves are predicted by Einstein's theory of general relativity, they are very difficult to observe. Scientists, including Mavalava, hope that LIGO will soon help them "see" the universe in a whole new way.  In a recent lecture, Mavalava explained what gravitational waves might be able to tell us. She was also named a MacArthur Fellow in 2010. Watch her answers to the ScienceLives Questions below.

Name: Nergis Mavalava
Institution: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Field of Study: Physics
Age: 42

Editor's Note: This research was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the federal agency charged with funding basic research and education across all fields of science and engineering. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. See the ScienceLives archive.