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Laguna Elected to Mexican National Academy of Sciences

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Pablo Laguna, Penn State professor of astronomy and astrophysics and of physics, has been elected to the Academia Mexicana de Ciencias, a nonprofit organization that aims to disseminate scientific knowledge, foster discussion and respectful debate around scientific issues, and promote public recognition of the work conducted by Mexican scientists. Laguna is one of four international members selected during 2007 to join the organization's more than 1,800 distinguished scientists.

Laguna's research focuses on numerical relativity, the formulation of Einstein's field equations that can be analyzed numerically using supercomputer technology. He studies cosmological and astrophysical systems in which the effects of general relativity play a fundamental role, and he currently is focusing on numerical simulation of the coalescence of two black holes. The collision of black holes is a central problem in general relativity that exposes the complex, nonlinear nature of Einstein's field equations. An accurate and complete solution of this problem will bring general relativity into harmony with the observations of gravitational radiation that are expected to take place in the near future with new observatories.

Laguna received his bachelor's degree in physics from the Metropolitan University of Iztapalapa, Mexico in 1981 and his doctoral degree in physics from the University of Texas at Austin in 1987. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas at Austin from 1987 to 1989 and a visiting assistant professor at Drexel University from 1989 to 1990. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1990 to 1992, where he also served as a consultant from 1992 to 2001.

In 1992, Laguna joined the faculty of the Department of Physics at Penn State as an assistant professor. He was promoted to associate professor in 1998 and to professor in 2000, and was named associate director of both the Center for Gravitational Wave Physics and the Institute for Gravitation and the Cosmos in 2001. He received a Mexican Presidential Award in 1981, an Organization of American States Fellowship in 1983, and a National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award in 1993.

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