Nergis Mavalvala is a physicist whose research links the world of quantum mechanics, usually apparent only at the atomic scale, with some of the most powerful, yet elusive, forces in the cosmos. She has been working on the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) since 1991, and was a member of the team that announced LIGO’s first detection of gravitational waves in 2016. She received a B.A. from Wellesley College and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was a postdoctoral fellow and research scientist at the California Institute of Technology. Since 2002, she has been on the Physics faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she is now the Marble Professor of Physics and recipient of a 2010 MacArthur “genius” award.