Cosmologist and MLK Scholar Morgane König uses gravitational waves to study the universe’s origins, inflation, and present trajectory.
When she was 12 years old, König decided the place to find answers was in physics. A family friend was a physicist, and she attributed her interest in the field to him. But it wasn’t until a trip back to her mother’s home country of Côte d’Ivoire that König learned her penchant for the subject had started much younger. No one in Côte d’Ivoire was surprised she was pursuing physics — they told her she’d been peering upward at the stars since she was a small child, wondering how they all had come together.
König’s observations have led her to MIT, where in 2021 she continued studying theoretical cosmology as a postdoc with physicist and cosmologist Alan Guth and physicist and historian of science David Kaiser. Now, she is a member of MIT’s 2023-24 Martin Luther King (MLK) Visiting Professors and Scholars Program cohort, alongside 11 others. This year, members of the MLK Scholars are researching and teaching diverse subjects including documentary filmmaking, behavioral economics, and writing children’s books.
König explains that ushering in more Black and African physicists means starting at the beginning and encouraging more undergraduates and young students to enter the field. “There is an enormous amount of talent and brilliance there,” König says. She sees an opportunity to connect with students across Africa, building the bridges needed to help everyone pursue the questions that keep them looking up at the stars.