Participated in the detection of gravitational waves
Erotokritos Katsavounidis is a Senior Research Scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a part of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, a team of scientists who recently-in February 2016- made first detection of gravitational waves, something that Albert Einstein himself had predicted, almost a 100 years ago.
“The description of this observation is beautifully described in the Einstein theory of general relativity formulated 100 years ago and comprises the first test of the theory in strong gravitation. It would have been wonderful to watch Einstein’s face had we been able to tell him,” says Rainer Weiss, professor of physics, emeritus, from MIT.
LIGO research is carried out by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC), a group of more than 1000 scientists from universities around the United States and in 14 other countries. More than 90 universities and research institutes in the LSC develop detector technology and analyze data; approximately 250 students are strong contributing members of the collaboration. The LSC detector network includes the LIGO interferometers and the GEO600 detector. The GEO team includes scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute, AEI), Leibniz Universität Hannover, along with partners at the University of Glasgow, Cardiff University, the University of Birmingham, other universities in the United Kingdom, and the University of the Balearic Islands in Spain.
Erotokritos Katsavounidis comes from the city of Veria, Greece, where he grew up. He studied Physics in the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, where he got his B.S. In 1988. He got his Master in Physics in 1990 from the California Institute of Technology, and his Ph.D. in Physics in 1996, once again from the California Institute of Technology, having Professor Barry Barish as his adviser.
His research interests evolve around gravitational-wave astrophysics, multi-wavelength observations, particle astrophysics, cosmic ray physics and more.
Regarding his positions and career, Erotokritos Katsavounidis was a Postdoctoral Fellow from 1995 to 1996 in the Italian Institute of Nuclear Physics, a Research Scientist from 1996 to 2000 in the Lauritsen Laboratory of High Energy Physics in California Institute of Technology. He was an Assistant Professor of Physics from 2001 to 2006 in Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an Associate Professor of Physics from 2006 to 2010, again in MIT. From 2010 until today, he is a Senior Research Scientist, working for MIT.