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Acclaimed WVU astrophysicist elected to elite National Academy of Sciences, a first for the University

Maura McLaughlin, Eberly Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy, has been selected as a new member of the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors in the scientific world. She is the first WVU researcher to join the prestigious group.

McLaughlin is co-director of the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves Physics Frontiers Center, or NANOGrav, which recently announced evidence for gravitational waves with periods of years to decades that had never previously been observed. The Green Bank Telescope in Pocahontas County is the primary telescope used for this work.

McLaughlin is also credited with helping discover fast radio bursts — intense, unexplained pulses of energy, coming from billions of light years away, that pop for mere milliseconds.

In 2023, she was recognized for her efforts by earning the Shaw Prize, described as the “Nobel Prize of the East.” 

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