In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, TSC invited Dr. Carlos Lousto, Distinguished Professor in the School of Mathematical Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology, to talk about his history-making research on black holes, scientists who have inspired him in his career, and that little thing about the first direct observation of gravitational waves and proving Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

How has federal funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NASA furthered your research?

Funds from NSF and NASA have been crucial to develop the top research I have performed, and over 90% of the funds have been used to support graduate students in MS and PhD programs at RIT as well as young postdoctoral researchers and computational equipment to support those thesis and research work.

National Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off every year from September 15 – October 15. Tell us about what this month means to you and how your heritage has impacted your work.

National Hispanic Heritage Month reminds me of the role model I play for the community and further encourages me to keep the high academic and ethical standards based entirely on merit and hard work.

How did the first direct observation of gravitational waves in 2015, a discovery 100 years in the making, affect your work and how others view it?

It was perhaps the most exciting time in my long academic career. Being part of the team that first detected gravitational waves and seeing that our supercomputer predictions were in perfect agreement with the observations was a culminating personal achievement!