The RAS congratulates Professor Sheila Rowan - Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and director of the University of Glasgow’s IGR (Institute for Gravitational Research) - on being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in recognition of her pioneering work detecting gravitational waves.
Professor Rowan led one of the teams who contributed to the international LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) collaboration. LIGO first detected gravitational waves in September 2015, 100 years after Einstein’s original prediction.
Rowan received her Bachelor of Science at the University of Glasgow in 1991 and stayed on to complete her PhD in 1995. Here, she worked on gravitational waves supervised by Glasgow physicist James Hough.
After her PhD, Rowan split her time between the University of Glasgow and the Edward Ginzton Laboratory at Stanford University. She was appointed Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Glasgow in 2006 and director of the Institute for Gravitational Research in 2009.
Royal Society Fellows are elected for life through a peer review process, and Professor Rowan now joins the ranks of scientists like Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell, and Professor Carole Jordan, and Sir Isaac Newton.
Professor Mike Cruise, the new President of the Royal Astronomical Society said: “We all send our heartiest congratulations to Sheila. She is a valued Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and this is well deserved”.