At 7:00 PM, 2021 February 12, online on Zoom, the Sunshine Coast Centre of the RASC presented Cosmologist Simran Nerval, whose topic was “Spacetime Fluctuations from the Early Universe.” Simran explained the cosmic microwave background (CMB), motivated why we think inflation happened, explained what inflation is, explained what gravitational waves are and how inflation causes them, and how we can detect these gravitational waves in the CMB as well as directly with gravitational wave experiments like LIGO and LISA.
Simran Nerval is a master’s student at Queen’s University and a researcher with the McDonald Institute studying theoretical cosmology. She studies gravitational wave production during the expansion of the early universe. Before coming to Queen’s, she did her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto in physics and astronomy. While she was there, she was a part of the LiteBIRD collaboration and worked with the Canadian Space Agency to figure out how well the LiteBIRD satellite with be able to determine what occurred during the earliest moments of the universe. Alongside her research, she spends time doing a variety of science outreach for events ranging from organizing virtual classroom visits for Let’s Talk Science to running a virtual national symposium on astrophysics for high school students.