PM praises Pakistani scientist who played key role in discovery of gravitational waves

Published: February 15, 2016
Dr Nergis Mavalvala. PHOTO COURTESY: John D & Catherine T, MacArthur Foundation

Dr Nergis Mavalvala. PHOTO COURTESY: John D & Catherine T, MacArthur Foundation

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has felicitated Dr Nergis Mavalvala, the Pakistani-American Astrophysicist, for being part of the team of scientists who have recently detected gravitational waves in space.

In a statement on Monday, the prime minister said Mavalvala, who is also a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a source of inspiration for Pakistani scientists and students aspiring to become future scientists.

The entire nation is proud of her valuable contribution, he added.

Pakistan-born scientist played part in discovery of gravitational waves

PM Nawaz has directed the Ministry of Science and Technology to devise a framework within a span of a week to facilitate Pakistani scientists in their scientific pursuits.

On Thursday, the detection confirmed a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity and opened an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos.

Dr Mavalvala, 47, was born to a Parsi family in Karachi where she did her primary schooling.

She worked with researchers at the US-based underground detectors Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) Laboratory to build sophisticated  sensors to detect gravitational ripples created from the collision of two black holes some 1.3 billion years ago and had been hurtling through space to reach Earth on September 14, 2015.

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Reader Comments (24)

  • Araaj
    Feb 15, 2016 - 10:22PM

    Not really a Pakistani scientist, from what i know she is a naturalized U.S Citizen. Also, her amazing education and research accomplishments have been achieved utilizing American resources. How can we claim her accomplishments as a product of our institutions?

    Same goes for the Boxer Amir Khan.Recommend

  • Farhan
    Feb 15, 2016 - 10:42PM

    A country that could not devise a framework to support it’s scientists in almost 70 years cannot devise anything in a week. Ministry of science and technology is full of corrupt people who never did any scientific research themselvesRecommend

  • Vectra
    Feb 15, 2016 - 11:29PM

    Praising so late after 2 days,Pm Modi did that on the same day the discovery was madeRecommend

  • John B
    Feb 15, 2016 - 11:33PM

    This is gone out of control. What did pak give her for pak to claim her teams achievement. Recommend

  • Ali Rehman
    Feb 16, 2016 - 12:52AM

    Its her right to be what she wants …. but … does Namaz Sharif know that she is a lesbian? And would his right wing voters approve of her?Recommend

  • Humza
    Feb 16, 2016 - 1:46AM

    @John B: I don’t think that Pakistan is claiming the achievement of discovering the gravitational waves in space as its own. It’s simply recognizing the services of Dr. Mavalvala to the advancement in science and celebrating her background and early upbringing in Pakistan. Nations tend to do that but it seems that the Indians on this site are too biased to admit this obvious fact. Instead they are desperate to dismiss any link that the professor has to Pakistan or badmouth the state of research or education there. It’s this negative sum attitude that borders on being pitiful. I think it is great that Dr. Malalvala is unique in many respects; not only she is a minority woman in a field dominated by men but she is in an openly gay relationship. All the more reason for Pakistanis to celebrate her and the fact that the PM felicitated her knowing her background is an important message acknowledging the diversity in Pakistani society.Recommend

  • salman
    Feb 16, 2016 - 1:50AM

    Indians make a noise about Indian-Americans so Pakistan should do the same. This is what PR all about.Recommend

  • Jibran
    Feb 16, 2016 - 2:21AM

    Lets wait and see how this entire detection story unfolds. The entire method is under scrutiny. Let’s hope it is not another ‘breaking the speed of light barrier’ kind of measurement which happened a couple of years ago.Recommend

  • mua
    Feb 16, 2016 - 3:07AM

    lets first praise and lay respects to the man that has been reduced to a byline in our nation’s history- Dr. Abdus Salam. Recommend

  • Zahid
    Feb 16, 2016 - 3:17AM

    We all Pakistani are very proud of Dr. Malvala who is part of this research congratulations and best of luckRecommend

  • usmang
    Feb 16, 2016 - 3:23AM

    araaj and johnb

    I am an overseas Pakistani. I have had modest success abroad. I have gone to one of the top business schools in the world. I have 4 degrees and a successful career. I feel I owe everything to Pakistan, my identity my primary education, my heritage, the culture of hard work, the love of family, lessons from exemplary teachers, relatives, neighbors and a passion for charity in my country.

    I may be out of Pakistan but you can never take my heart out of Pakistan.Recommend

  • UK
    Feb 16, 2016 - 3:34AM


    No One is “Claiming” her achievements. Her achievements are due to her own hard work, facilitated by US technology and US labs.

    It’s just felicitations, inspiration, and to some extent pride, that she was born and went to school, in Pakistan.

    Amir Khan was not born or raised in Pakistan, but himself, he is proud of his Pakistani heritage, and is also a proud British.

    No different than Kenyans happy about Obama, or entire country of Armenia going crazy, when Kardashains visited the country of Armenia. They are only partial Armenian decent. And their ancestors came from Armenian speaking region of Turkey (Not even country of Armenia).Recommend

  • Rao
    Feb 16, 2016 - 3:57AM

    She deserves high praises. But will she be accepted in conservative religious Pakistan? Just read about her sexual orientation! Just google and find out! Recommend

  • someone
    Feb 16, 2016 - 5:30AM

    Man..Pakistanis are just too much. Few days earlier when a US dentist of Pakistani origin, who had Pakistani education, was caught for sodomy, Pakistanis were jumping in outrage and trying to distant away from him and now when a scientist who had all her education in US, was just born in Pakistani, that too not something in her own control, Pakistanis claiming her to be Pakistani. Does she even have dual citizenship??? Recommend

  • Adnan
    Feb 16, 2016 - 6:32AM

    Does our PM even know what Gravitational waves are ? Or what this buzz is all about lol
    Mian Sahab Recommend

  • abu waleed
    Feb 16, 2016 - 6:34AM

    I am not sure the feeling is mutual. Can’t see a gay Parsi woman wanting to connect to a country where she has no rights. Recommend

  • Amer
    Feb 16, 2016 - 7:27AM

    I was born in Pakistan but never even went to primary school there, studied abroad and went to Uni in the US but still consider my achievements to be of Pakistani origin. Dr Mavalvala’s teachers in Pakistan had a role to play in her upbringing and achievements today and that is a FACT !
    If anyone doesn’t like Pakistanis celebrating or owning her achievements… please get some Barnol ! Recommend

  • John B
    Feb 16, 2016 - 8:00AM

    You are negating the education, opportunity, funding, and the spirit of American soil in your career success. Your career success is directly linked through the American education. Your ethnic origin alone did not contribute to your career success. Your spirit of charity is directly linked through your up bringing and environment and your career success is very American. Let us not confuse both. You owe your success to you, your family and the opportunity and education America provided and not to PAK. You may share your success though with all you care, including PAK. If you want to share your success only with PAK then you are myopic in your outlook and discarding all that the US has provided.

    Regardless, my comment on the issue of the article stands. Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Feb 16, 2016 - 8:40AM

    If you’re talking about a particular subatomic particle which seemed to go faster than light, it actually did by taking a shortcut through an unknown dimension. At least, that’s what a number of scientists suspect.Recommend

  • Imran Ahsan Mirza
    Feb 16, 2016 - 8:43AM

    It is a great achievement for anyone to work at CERN or other such high tech Physics facilities. She as a Pakistani origin person is enough for us to feel proud. We all know that Pakistan is very backward in science and technology despite many opportunities available in past to become developed were all lost. In such scientific darkness we see hope that our kith and kin achieve extraordinary feat when given right environment. Dr Nergis Mavalvala we love you and your work. I hope you will one day bring another Nobel prize like Dr Abdus Salam. He has famously said that don’t call me the “only Pakistani Nobel Laureate” but rather “the First Pakistani Nobel laureate”. Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Feb 16, 2016 - 8:44AM

    Guess he figures its something which keeps his money from floating away, which should be enough for him !Recommend

  • Irtiza
    Feb 16, 2016 - 8:53AM

    We tend to claim ‘assets’ that do not belong to us and on the other hand find fault in our own assets. Our product was Prof. Abdul Salam and look at the way he has been treated and same goes for Malala. The day Dr. Mavalvala says that she is Pakistani, we will see it as a conspiracy of the west.Recommend

  • Sid
    Feb 16, 2016 - 10:20AM

    Jealousy is beaming out from some of the comments from our Indian brother. I bet many will have some sleepless night knowing that a Pakistani Origin can be a part of such great success in Science. Grow up, kids….Recommend

  • Maqsood Ahmed Soomro
    Feb 16, 2016 - 6:15PM

    She belongs to a Parsi family and native Sindhi Speaker. Though, she had her education in US, we really are proud of what she has achieved. It is pertinent to mention here, that Sindhi Women continues to be the benchmark of achievements, though very less in population.Recommend

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