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Vicky Kalogera

Daniel I. Linzer Distinguished University Professor/ Director of CIERA

PhD, University of Illinois, 1997

Vicky Kalogera’s research interests lie broadly in the astrophysics of compact objects across the electromagnetic spectrum and in gravitational waves. In binary systems, where two stars orbit each other, the interactions of compact objects are especially interesting. They can include a wide variety of violent phenomena such as powerful X-ray emissions, supernova explosions, black hole formation, and mergers.Kalogera's research is focused mainly on how such systems are born, how they evolve, and how they end their lives. She is also interested in how the properties of such systems are affected by their galactic environments.

Kalogera is a leading astrophysicist in the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) and a member of this collaboration for more than 15 years. LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) is the special kind of ‘telescope’ that first detected gravitational waves in 2015, 100 years after Einstein predicted them to exist. As a member of the discovery team of the first LIGO source (GW150914), she was awarded the 2016 Gruber Prize in Cosmology and the 2015 Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.

 Kalogera is at the forefront of the emergent field of gravitational-wave astronomy, using data analysis and astrophysical modeling to understand the universe’s population of black holes and neutron stars. Her research is cross-disciplinary coupling gravitational-wave and stellar astrophysics to data science, machine learning and high-performance computing. In parallel to her gravitational-wave source studies, Kalogera also studies the formation and evolution of stars and their remnants detectable as gamma-ray, X-ray, and radio pulsar sources in the electromagnetic spectrum, in a wide range of stellar environments.

Honors and Awards

  • Guggenheim Fellow
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Elected Member
  • Legacy Fellow of the American Astronomical Society
  • National Academy of Sciences, Elected Member
  • Dannie Heineman Prize
  • Hans Bethe Prize
  • Simons Foundation Fellow
  • Maria Goeppert-Mayer Award
  • Cottrell Scholar Award
  • David and Lucille Packard Fellow
  • Annie Cannon Award in Astronomy
  • NSF Faculty Early Career Development Award

Selected Publications

“One Channel to Rule Them All? Constraining the Origins of Binary Black Holes Using Multiple Formation Pathways”, Zevin, M., Bavera, S.S., Berry, C.P.L., Kalogera, V. Fragos, T., Marchant, P., Rodriguez, C.L., Antonini, F., Holz, D.E., Pankow, C. 2021, The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 910, Issue 2, id.152, 18 pp.

“Population Properties of Compact Objects from the Second LIGO- Virgo GravitationalWave Transient Catalog.”, Abbott, et al. 2021, The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Volume 913, Issue 1, id.L7, 41 pp.

“The role of mass transfer and common envelope evolution in the formation of merging binary black holes”, Marchant, P., Pappas, K. M. W., Gallegos-Garcia, M., Berry, C. P. L., Taam, R. E., Kalogera, V., Podsiadlowski, P., 2021, Astronomy Astrophysics, Volume 650, id.A107, 22 pp.

“A new active-learning algorithm for more efficient parameter space studies, paving the way toward next-generation binary population synthesis.”, Rocha, K. A., Andrews, J., Berry, C., Kalogera, V., 2021, American Astronomical Society Meeting #237, id. 211.03. Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, Vol. 53, No.1

“Evidence for Hierarchical Black Hole Mergers in the Second LIGO- Virgo Gravitational Wave Catalog.”, Kimball, C., Talbot, C., Berry, C. P. L., Zevin, M., Thrane, E., Kalogera, V., Buscicchio, R., Carney, M., Dent, T., Middleton, H., Payne, E., Veitch, J., Williams, D., 2021, The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Volume 915, Issue 2, id.L35, 14 pp.