SR 138: The Future of Gravitational Waves with Dr. Brittany Kamai


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This week I had the privilege of chatting with Dr. Brittany Kamai about her research into how to improve gravitational wave detectors – as well as how we can each generate gravitational waves. We also discussed how she became a driving force behind the #ShutDownSTEM movement.

Brittany is Native Hawaiian, an astrophysicist, athlete, author, mentor, and advocate for creating a better world. She is on a mission to help enhance our fundamental understanding of the universe and does so by weaving together every aspect of who she is.

As an experimentalist, Brittany’s research focuses on improving gravitational wave detectors with novel technology ideas. She is advancing studies of seismic and acoustic metamaterials on a path to improve the ground-based detectors, namely LIGO and Cosmic Explorer. With increased sensitivity, we will gather deeper astrophysical observations to enable precision tests of cosmology, General Relativity, and stellar evolution.

Brittany cares deeply about how we do science and infuses the aloha spirit into her practice of science. She advocates on national and international advisory boards to build towards a more equitable and inclusive field of astrophysics. She is the co-founder of #ShutDownSTEM and the Society of Indigenous Physicists.

Dr. Kamai has received numerous awards during her career including as a National Academy of Sciences' Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow, Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellow, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, among many others.

Currently, Dr. Kamai is a Heising-Simons Foundation Postdoctoral scholar with a joint appointment between the University of California, Santa Cruz and Caltech.

Be sure to follow Brittany on Twitter (@cosmojellyfish) and Instagram (@cosmojellyfish). You can also learn more about her by visiting her website.

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Produced by Nancy Graziano.

Cheese for today’s tasting proudly provided by Dom’s Cheese Shop.

Hosted by Paul M. Sutter, astrophysicist and the one and only Agent to the Stars.

151 episodes