Astrophysicist and Vadodara boy Karan Jani – one of the key researchers in the US-based LIGO team that detected gravitational waves envisaged by Albert Einstein a century ago has recently submitted a proposal to flag off a ‘Center for space related research’ to the Vice chancellor of his alma mater- MS University, Vadodara.
Speaking on the ‘Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory(LIGO) project’ that proved the predictions of Einstein’s general theory of relativity on gravitational waves right last year to budding engineers and researchers at the Vishwakarma Government Engineering College (VGEC) at Ahmedabad on Wednesday, Jani said, “I have submitted a proposal of having a Center at MSU where we can develop not just ‘LIGO kind of research’ but all space related research. The hope is to start a center where we can do astrophysics at the level of the entire state or have a university- whichever pans out. In my proposal, I have outlined plans of how we can go about in a 10 year timespan. As Gujarat has a legacy of having famous astrophysicists like PC Vaidya, it would be fitting that we start astrophysics research not just in the institutes but also in universities. That can happen only if not just a center but a set of universities understand the need of investing in this space.”
Jani spoke about MSU’s student body which started a Space Club of 70 members recently which was inaugurated by him. “We started a ‘space club’ and they recently celebrated the international space week in first week of October and the response was huge. If a club has enough student critical mass limit then it makes sense where we can also have a center. The university system as of now does not have a way on how a Bachelors or Masters level student can do research, so, that is why having a center is an advantage. My aim is to have every major university in Gujarat to have students working in this field. As the world’s third gravitational wave lab is set to come up in Hingoli district of Maharashtra, so Gujarat being the closest state and having a legacy of good educational institutes- students can get employment there also.”
Karan Jani is part of the research team at LIGO project that looks for black holes with mass 10 to 1000 times heavier than sun. Slated to speak at a workshop in GTU this week, Jani said that the upcoming LIGO India Project at Hingoli is a big thing for India as the country has never invested in a science project when the field is just starting.