2014 Stefano Braccini Thesis Prize for Dr. Yan Wang

Innovative methods for eLISA gravitational-wave observatory – international prize awarded to Yan Wang

April 30, 2015

Dr. Yan Wang, who did his PhD studies at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) and the Leibniz Universität in Hannover, receives the 2014 Stefano Braccini Thesis Prize. The prize is awarded annually for the most innovative and novel doctoral thesis in the field of gravitational physics. Dr. Wang's work covers a variety of topics, among them inter-satellite ranging and clock synchronization for the eLISA mission. The prize will be awarded in June 2015 at the 11th Amaldi Conference in Gwangju, Korea.

The prize was endowed in honour of the Italian gravitational physicist Stefano Braccini and is worth €1000. Its recipients are determined by an international committee representing the worldwide gravitational-wave science community. Dr. Wang's thesis “On inter-satellite laser ranging, clock synchronization and gravitational wave data analysis” presents various innovative and novel concepts for gravitational-wave physics, and focuses on data analysis for the eLISA mission.

Dr. Yan Wang receives the 2014 Stefano Braccini Thesis Prize.

eLISA is a planned gravitational-wave observatory in space, expected to launch in 2034. The mission consists of three satellites following the Earth on its orbit around the Sun. The satellites form a triangle with one million kilometre long side and will measure distances between them to picometre precision using laser light and a method called time-delay interferometry. Passing gravitational waves modulate these distances and can be extracted from the interferometric measurements.

Dr. Wang's thesis deals with the development of data analysis algorithms for eLISA and similar missions. It solves a long-standing question on how to interface the raw measurement data, the time-delay interferometry, and the subsequent astrophysical data analysis. “I showed that the new algorithms successfully calibrate and synchronize the raw measurement data, accurately estimate the inter-spacecraft distance and the clock error, and are able to deal with various emergent cases by optimally combining the available information,” says Wang. The novel algorithms improve the robustness of the eLISA measurement process.

Besides this, the thesis also discusses a variety of other topics related to the acceleration of gravitational-wave data analysis, and the design concept of a novel space-based gravitational-wave observatory.


Yan Wang (born 1984) did his PhD in physics at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) and the Leibniz Universität in Hannover, Germany. In 2014, he obtained his PhD under the supervision of the Prof. Dr. Danzmann and Priv.-Doz. Dr. Heinzel. Dr. Wang now works at University of Western Australia as a research assistant professor.

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