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Maura McLaughlin, Ph.D.



West Virginia University
Department of Physics and Astronomy
White Hall G59
P.O. Box 6315
Morgantown, WV 26506-6315

Phone: 304-293-4812

Visit the WVU Center for Astrophysics


My main research interests involve studying neutron stars and their environments through radio, X-ray and gamma-ray observations. Neutron stars are amazing physical laboratories for general relativity, studies of the interstellar medium, high-energy particle and plasma physics, and studies of stellar evolution. A significant research aim, as chair of the NANOGrav collaboration, is to use neutron stars to detect gravitational waves through timing an array of ultra-precise millisecond pulsars. I am PI on an NSF PIRE (Partnerships for International Research and Education) award for the International Pulsar Timing Array for gravitational wave detection. My work with the Pulsar Search Collaboratory involves West Virginia high-school students in our research.

WVU is uniquely placed for students to use the Green Bank Telescope in nearby Green Bank, West Virginia, the largest fully steerable dish in the world. Some of the other instruments used in WVU research are radio telescopes such as Arecibo, Parkes, VLA, ATCA, and GMRT, in addition to X-ray satellites such as XMM and Chandra, and the Fermi gamma-ray telescope. Some research involves developing techniques for next-generation radio telescopes such as the SKA.

Please contact me if you are interested in undergraduate research or graduate study in our group!


Ph.D. Cornell University, 2001 B.S. The Pennsylvania State University, 1994

Awards and Honors

2009 Research Corporation Cottrell Scholar Award

2008 Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship

Ask_an_Expert Alan Bristow

“Ask an Expert” with Professor Alan Bristow

Professor Alan Bristow was featured in the inaugural “Ask an Expert” article in the Fall 2014 edition of WVU Magazine, where he answered questions about the future of photonic devices and the study of physics.

Read the Article

James Smith

Professor James Smith, WVU Alum

James Smith, Adjunct Professor at Emory University, (B.S. ‘64, M.S. ‘66, Ph.D. ‘69 in Physics) talks about his career and his time at WVU.

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Mysterious Radio Bursts, Sent From Deep Space

Reporting in Science, researchers including WVU physics post-docs Sam Bates and Lina Levin write of discovering four radio bursts from outer space. WVU professors Duncan Lorimer and Maura McLaughlin were on the team that detected the first such explosion in 2007. On NPR’s Science Friday, Dr. Lorimer discusses what could be causing these radio signals, such as evaporating black holes, an idea proposed by Stephen Hawking in the 1970s.

Listen to Science Friday Episode