Department of Physics and Astronomy

University of Mississippi

Dr. Katherine Dooley

Photo of Dr. Dooley

Office: 105 Lewis Hall
Email: kldooley@olemiss.edu
Phone: (662) 915-2869

Degrees Earned

  • Ph.D., University of Florida, 2011
  • B.A., Vassar College, 2006

Experience

  • 2015–present: Assistant Professor, University of Mississippi
  • 2014–2015: Postdoctoral researcher, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA
  • 2011–2014: Postdoctoral researcher, Albert-Einstein-Institute (Max-Plank-Institut für Gravitationsphysik), Hannover, Germany

Awards

  • 2010: Tom Scott Award, U. of Florida: “awarded annually to a senior graduate student in experimental physics who has shown distinction in research
  • 2008-2009: LIGO Student Fellowship, California Institute of Technology

Memberships

  • LIGO Scientific Collaboration (2007 to present)
  • American Physical Society

Research Interests

I work in the exciting field of experimental gravitational-wave physics. Predicted by Einstein in his General Theory of Relativity 100 years ago, gravitational waves are extremely small ripples in space-time created by the movements of massive astrophysical objects like colliding black holes or exploding stars. A network of gravitational-wave detectors is being built around the world to make the first direct detection of gravitational waves–a momentous event that is widely expected to occur within the next couple years and will transform astronomy!

The detectors are multi-kilometer-long laser interferometers that push the limits of precision measurement and I
am interested in the development of new instrumentation and experimental techniques to improve the interferometers’ sensitivity to gravitational waves. We are building quantum optics experiments to manipulate Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle and we are prototyping a tilt-free seismometer to filter out the unwanted effects of Einstein’s Equivalence Principle. Together, both lines of research will ultimately improve the interferometers’ sensitivity to binary black holes, contribute to putting limits on the elusive neutron star equation of state, and increase the duty cycle of the detectors.

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