VIDEO | History, Education, Qualification: Meet Pakistan’s Nergis Mavalvala, the new dean of MIT School of Science

Mavalvala was born to a Parsi family in Karachi and received her early education from the Convent of Jesus and Mary.

MIT Quantum Astrophysicist Nergis Mavalvala in an MIT lab, 2010, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Photo by Darren McCollester/for MacArthur Foundation)

Pakistani-born quantum astrophysicist Nergis Mavalvala has been entitled as the latest dean of the MIT School of Science, one of the 5 schools of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), it surfaced on Tuesday.

As per MIT News, she will become the new dean from September 1 and will succeed Michael Sipser.

Mavalvala is celebrated for her pioneering work in gravitational-wave detection, which she conducted as a principal member of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), as per the report.

“She has received multiple honors and rewards for her research and teaching, and since 2015 has been a fellow head of the Department of Physics. Mavalvala will be the first female to serve as dean in the School of Science.”

The report added that Mavalvala was “optimistic and energized” about the role ahead, even as she acknowledged the unprecedented challenges the school and MIT as a whole were facing during this difficult time.

“We’re in this moment where huge changes are afoot,” she said. “We are in the midst of a global pandemic and economic challenge, and we are also in a moment, at least in US history, where the imperative for racial and social justice is very strong.

“As someone in a leadership position means you have opportunities to make an important and hopefully lasting impact,” she said.

(AP Photo/Steven Senne)

For now, MIT President L. Rafael Reif expressed that Mavalvala’s “brilliance as a researcher and educator speaks eloquently for itself”.

“What excites me about her appointment as dean are the qualities I have seen in her as a commander: She is a deft, collaborative problem-solver, a wise and generous colleague, an incomparable mentor, and a champion for inclusive excellence.

The report added that the news was proclaimed by Provost Martin Schmidt through a letter emailed to the MIT community in which he wrote:

“I look forward to working with her and to benefiting from her unerring sense of practical wisdom, scientific opportunity, infectious curiosity, and down-to-earth manner.

“I hope you will join me in applauding her as she brings her enormous gifts as a leader to this new role.”

Mavalvala was born to a Parsi family in Karachi and received her early education from the Convent of Jesus and Mary.

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