UMass Dartmouth alumna and LIGO engineer to lead seminar on gravitational-wave physics and the observation of black holes

The College of Engineering and the Society of Women Engineers to host a seminar featuring the work of Janeen Romie ’83, the detector engineering group lead at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)

Alumna Janeen Romie

Janeen Romie ’83, the detector engineering group lead at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) in Livingston, Louisiana will hold a seminar on Monday, September 24, from 6-8 p.m., in the Robert F. Stoico/FIRSTFED Grand Reading Room.

Romie has worked at LIGO for 23 years as an engineer, project manager, and observing run manager. In September 2015, she was the run manager for the first direct detection of gravitational waves from two colliding black holes.

LIGO is a National Science Foundation facility dedicated to gravitational wave astronomy and astrophysics, jointly operated by the California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. LIGO launched the field of gravitational wave astronomy with the first observation of the birth of a black hole, an achievement that led to the Nobel Prize in physics for its founders.

The world’s largest gravitational wave observatory, LIGO consists of two widely separated, 4-km long interferometers operating as a single, phased detector. One is located north of Richland, Wash., and the other is in Livingston.

"The College of Engineering, along with the Society of Women Engineers, is proud to welcome back Janeen Romie, a leader in gravitational-wave physics," said Dean of the College of Engineering Jean VanderGheynst. "We are excited to hear about her ground-breaking work at LIGO, the largest observatory of its kind in the world and the recipient of the 2017 Nobel Prize in physics. Janeen is an especially strong role model for our students as she has led pioneering teams in the observation of gravitational waves and the discovery of black holes."

In August 2017, Romie led the observation of gravitational waves from a binary neutron star inspiral and the dawn of multi-messenger astronomy.

She is the author of more than 150 publications and a winner of the Optical Society 2016 Paul F. Forman Team Engineering Excellence Award.

“My education at UMass Dartmouth prepared me well for a career in engineering and management,” said Romie. “I am profoundly grateful for the foundation it provided me, along with lifelong friends and memories.”

Romie and her husband, Clayton, operate R&D Motorsports, a race prep and automobile restoration shop in Baton Rouge. They enjoy racing their own Aston Martin G4 racecar whenever possible. Romie’s love of cars propelled her education at UMass Dartmouth. After completing her degree in mechanical engineering, she promptly bought a Corvette after graduation.

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