Last month, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory — better known as LIGO — announced the first direct spotting of gravitational waves, the ripples in spacetime predicted by Albert Einstein 100 years ago. The discovery instantly made waves, eliciting a direct Tweet from the @POTUS himself. In honor of this historic discovery, we lent our soapbox to Dr. Lynn Cominsky, physicist with the LIGO collaboration and Director of the Education and Public Outreach group at Sonoma State University.
In addition to leading the way in educational programming around the LIGO project, Dr. Cominsky develops innovative educational materials, integrating everything from rocketry to computer science for grades 5-14. With a background in astrophysics, her journey into education began in 1999 when she founded the Education and Public Outreach group at Sonoma State University, and has taken off from there. The Science Soapbox team was pleased as punch to chat with her about colliding black holes and the frontiers of STEM education in our latest interview.
Here are some of the links and references mentioned during the show:
- Learn more about Dr. Cominsky and her exciting projects on her official website and in this AAAS member spotlight interview
- LIGO Live! Q&A with Lynn Cominsky, watch Dr. Cominsky answer a series of burning Twitter-sourced questions about LIGO’s historic February 11th announcement
- For a great read on why LIGO’s discovery is such a huge deal, we recommend Sean Carroll’s piece in The Atlantic magazine, All Physics Is Local: Einstein’s gravitational waves rest on a genuinely radical idea
- If you’re just itching to get involved in the citizen science movement as your computer sleeps, here’s the link to Einstein@Home, which has Dr. Cominsky and us super excited!
This episode was recorded on March 2, 2016 in Rockefeller University’s Science Outreach Lab. Special thanks to Visager for music.