Deborah Lynn Ferguson

I am a PhD student in the Center for Relativistic Astrophysics at the Georgia Institute of Technology. I obtained my B.S. in Physics from the University of Kentucky with minors in Computer Science and Mathematics and my M.S. in Physics from Georgia Tech.

My research focuses on numerical relativity and gravitational waves. In this era of gravitational wave detections, we have the opportunity to study strong-field gravity during the merger of binary black hole systems. As a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, I am able to work at the intersection of theory and analysis, striving to understand how gravity behaves at its strongest.


Ph.D. Student, Physics, Georgia Institute of Technology (2016 - Present)

M.S. Physics, Georgia Institute of Technology (2017)

B.S. Physics, Minors: Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Kentucky (2016)


Numerical Relativity and Strong Field Gravity
Advisor: Dr. Deirdre Shoemaker
Years: 2017 - Present

Milky Way Tomography with K and M Dwarf Stars: The Vertical Structure of the Galactic Disk
Advisors: Dr. Susan Gardner, Dr. Brian Yanny
Years: 2014 - 2017

Using Resonant Frequencies and Overtones to Calculate the Sound Velocity of TIPS Pentacene
Advisor: Dr. Joseph Brill
Years: 2013 - 2014

Mobile Physics Engine Modeling Two Dimensional Elastic and Inelastic Collisions for the Educational Demonstration of Physics Phenomena
Advisor: Dr. Jerzy Jaromczyk
Years: 2013 - 2014

Impact of Chemical Extracts of Seeds from Endophyte Infected and Non-Infected Tall Fescue on Soil Microbial Communities
Advisor: Dr. David McNear
Years: 2013 - 2014

Testing the Accuracy of the Honeywell HMC5883L 3-Axis Magnetometer
Advisor: Dr. Christopher Crawford
Years: 2011 - 2012

Publications and Talks


  • D. Ferguson, S. Gardner, and B. Yanny, Milky Way Tomography with K and M Dwarf Stars: The Vertical Structure of the Galactic Disk, ApJ 843, 141 (2017) arXiv:1706.01900
  • J. Healy, et al., Targeted numerical simulations of binary black holes for GW170104, Phys. Rev. D 97, 064027 arXiv:1712.05836


  • Ferguson, D. et al. (2018 Apr) Revealing the Final Black Hole from Signal at Maximum Amplitude. Talk given at the American Physical Society April Meeting, Columbus Ohio
  • Ferguson, D. (2017, Oct) Apparent Horizon Dynamics of Binary Black Hole Systems. Talk given at the Georgia Regional Astronomers Meeting, Athens GA


Georgia Institute of Technology - School of Physics
Center for Relativistic Astrophysics
Boggs 1-90B
837 State Street
Atlanta, Georgia 30332-0430
E: dferguson41 [at]