Tiffany Z. Summerscales
Title: Associate Professor of Physics
Office Location: Haughey Hall 223
Phone: (269) 471-3523
Tiffany Summerscales is an associate professor of physics at Andrews University. She joined the faculty in 2006. Born in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, Summerscales graduated from Andrews University in 1999 with a bachelor of science in physics and mathematics. She studied gravitational wave experimental physics at Penn State University and graduated with a Ph.D. in physics in 2006. Her dissertation investigated some analysis methods applied to data from interferometric gravitational wave detectors. Since coming to Andrews, Summerscales has maintained membership in the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) and led a group of students in LIGO-related research. This research has resulted in presentations at both LSC meetings and national physics conferences. She is married to Rodney Summerscales
Current Research or Professional Activities:
According to Einstein's theory of general relativity, mass curves
spacetime. When the distribution of mass changes, the curvature must
also change and that change spreads outwards through space like the
ripples on a pond. These ripples, also called gravitational waves, are
very faint. Only the most catastrophic events and massive objects in
the universe are capable of producing gravitational waves of
LIGO (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observitory) consists of detectors in Hanford, WA and in Livingston LA, built to find gravitational waves. Currently LIGO is in the midst of upgrades that will greatly increase its sensitivity and its ability to measure gravitational waves. Once these elusive spacetime ripples are caught, they will reveal important information about their sources. With gravitational waves it will be possible to watch neutron stars and black holes collide, see into the heart of a supernova, and look back to the moment of the universe's creation.
The Andrews University Gravitational Wave Group (AUGWG) members are members of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC), an international group including hundreds of physisicts who work on LIGO science. Currently, the AUGWG is involved in efforts to extract signals from multi-detector data and determine what information is carried by a gravitational wave.