Nergis Mavalvala is a physicist whose research focuses on the detection of gravitational waves and quantum measurement science. 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 before joining the physics faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2002, where she is currently the Associate Department Head of Physics. Mavalvala is the recipient of a 2010 MacArthur “genius” award and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.