Computational research at Washington State University is getting a boost from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Marlo Ramo Morales, a physics doctoral student working on developing a greater understanding of black holes and gravitational waves, has been selected to receive a prestigious DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship. He’s the first WSU student to receive the four‑year fellowship since it was established in 1991.

Morales’ research is in numerical relativity, which involves creating computer simulations of extreme-gravity events such as the collision and merging of two black holes, to predict the signal in gravitational waves detected by LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory).

“My research at WSU involves improving higher-order boundary conditions in the Spectral Einstein Code,” said Morales. “The improvements are essential to study complex gravitational waves with higher harmonics derived from extreme space-time events.”

Morales chose to pursue his PhD at WSU specifically to work and study alongside astrophysicists working in the field, including Vivienne Baldassare and his doctoral advisor Matt Duez.

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