Official newsletter of the LSU College of Science  |   October 2015 

LSU Boyd Professor Emerita Shirley Tucker Gives $2M to Plant Systematics Program

LSU Herbarium Renamed in Her Honor
During Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, October 15 

LSU Boyd Professor Emerita Shirley Tucker has given $2 million to the LSU Herbarium and plant systematics program in the College of Science Department of Biological Sciences. Her gift, supplemented with an additional $960,000 from the Louisiana Board of Regents, creates a $2.96 million endowment to support the Dr. Shirley C. Tucker Chair in Plant Systematics, supports four superior graduate student scholarships and provides endowed support for the LSU Herbarium.

Above photo: Shirley C. Tucker Herbarium Director Lowell Urbatsch, Senior Development Director for the College of Science Emi Gilbert, College of Science Dean Cynthia Peterson, LSU Boyd Professor Emerita Shirley Tucker, LSU President F. King Alexander and LSU Foundation Vice President for Development Ann Marie Marmande celebrate the naming of the Shirley C. Tucker Herbarium at LSU. 
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The SNO detector with the Nobel medal overlaid. The dots are light sensitive devices, or photomultipliers, used to detect light from neutrino interactions inside the water of the detector.

LSU Physicists Contribute to Nobel Prize-Winning Research

LSU Professor of Physics Thomas Kutter and his group of researchers were members of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, or SNO, Collaboration led by Arthur McDonald, who was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics this month. The prize was awarded jointly to McDonald of Queens University in Canada and Takaaki Kajita of the University of Tokyo for the discovery of neutrino oscillations, which shows that neutrinos - a type of sub-atomic particles - have mass.  

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Scientists Create the Most Complete Worldwide Map of Human Genetic Variation

LSU biologists Mark Batzer, Miriam Konkel and Jerilyn Walker are among the international team of scientists from the 1000 Genomes Project who have created the most complete catalog of human genetic variants. The researchers created a map of the genomic differences of 2,504 people from 26 populations across Africa, East Asia, South Asia, Europe and the Americas.

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LSU Mammal Curator Discovers New Species 
LSU Museum of Natural Science Curator of Mammals Jake Esselstyn and his international collaborators have discovered a new genus and species on a remote, mountainous island in Indonesia. This new discovery is the third new genus described by this group of scientists since 2012, and identifies a rodent with features never seen by the scientific community before.

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Landolt Observatory Hosts Viewing of
'Blood Moon' Super Eclipse   
The LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy hosted a viewing of the Super Eclipse in the Landolt Astronomical Observatory, September 27 from 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Physics & Astronomy faculty were on hand to answer questions and visitors were allowed to view the eclipse through the observatory's large Alvan Clark Telescope.

> Listen to LSU Professor of Physics & Astronomy Bradley Shaefer discuss      the eclipse on 107.3

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Left to right: Assistant Professor P. Ajayakumar, CUSAT Department of Marine Geology and Geophysics; Professor A. N. Balchand, head of the CUSAT Department of Physical; Professor Sam Bentley, director of LSU's Coastal Studies Institute; P.K. DineshKumar, senior principal scientist, Indian National Institute of Oceanography; and Professor Kenny Rose, associate dean of research, LSU School of the Coast & Environment; on Punappra Beach.

LSU Scientists Help Elevate Coastal Studies Research at Universities in India  
LSU's Sam Bentley and Kenneth Rose visited Kerala, India, September 4 - 13, to establish a collaborative education and research program with the Cochin University of Science and Technology, or CUSAT. Their visit, funded by the Erudite Visiting Scholars Program, was part of an initiative created by the Kerala Higher Education Council to help elevate research activities at Kerala universities.
As part of the program, Bentley and Rose delivered guest lectures about LSU's coastal and environmental research and education programs at four universities in Kerala. They also visited with students and faculty and participated in field trips to regional sites of coastal geological and ecological interest, including Punappra Beach where they observed a major landing of sardines in a coastal subsistence fishery.

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Mathematics professor Leonard Richardson (left) is one of three professors who helped acquire the GAANN grant which goes to mathematics doctoral students such as Eric Bucher (right).

Photo by Joshua Jackson

Mathematics Department Receives Three-Year Grant for Graduate Students   
With the help of a three-year, $738,000 grant from the United States Department of Education, a few LSU mathematics graduate students are able to continue pursuing their doctoral degrees.

The Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need grant is a result of the U.S. Congress designating math as an area of national need when it comes to funding doctorates, according to a Department of Mathematics news release. 
> Read full article in the LSU Reveille


Susanne Brenner, LSU Nicholson Professor with a joint appointment with the Department of Mathematics and the LSU Center for Computation and Technology, has been named the Infosys Visiting Chair Professor in Mathematical Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science, or IISc, in Bangalore, India. This position is funded through an Infosys Foundation grant to IISc. In recent years, Brenner has been building connections with IISc and other institutions in India. She visited the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, as a Distinguished Visiting Professor during her sabbatical in 2013 and has served as a lecturer for two summer research schools in India.  

Professor of Physics Ward Plummer co-authored" Manipulating electronic phase separation in strongly correlated oxides with an ordered array of antidots," which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Plummer, with researchers from LSU, Fudan University, the University of Florida and the Collaborative Innovation Center of Advanced Microstructures in Nanjing, China, conducted research on materials that separate into different regions through a process called electronic phase separation. Their work advances the understanding of how these materials can be manipulated without having to discover new materials, change the chemical concentration or apply external magnetic fields.

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Ferguson shares her experience working with the Baby Doe case on WBRZ Channel 2.

Pollen Analysis Helps Identify Victim
in Baby Doe Case

LSU Palynology Student Contributes to Discovery 
LSU doctoral student Shannon Ferguson contributed to the investigation that led to the identification of the body of Bella Bond, the two-year old toddler discovered on the shores of Deer Island in Boston on June 25. This past summer, Ferguson interned with the Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, in Houston where she worked with head palynologist, Dr. Andrew Laurence, in Customs and Border Protection, to track the origin of confiscated drug paraphernalia and other items. However, it was her work on the Baby Doe murder case that had the greatest impact on her summer internship experience.
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Physics Graduate Student Shares Summer Research Experience at
Livermore Lab 
Alison Dreyfuss, doctoral student in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, spent her summer working in the Weapons Complex Integration Directorate of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, or LLNL, studying phenomenological mix models in 1- and 2-D simulations of laser-driven shock-shear experiments. Dreyfuss was one of more than 600 students from universities nationwide and around the world to participate in LLNL's student internship program.


The College of Science would like to welcome the newest members of the Dean's Circle.
Thank you for your contribution to the teaching and research activities in the college.
  • Dr. Brent D. and Mrs. Louise A. Videau, September 2015

Dean's Circle Members,

Please mark your calendars for our Ninth Annual Dean's Circle Dinner, Friday, November 13, at Ruffino's at De La Ronde Hall, 320 Third Street, Baton Rouge, LA  70801.

This year's speaker is Gabriela Gonzalez, professor of physics and astronomy and spokesperson for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration.

RSVP to or 225-578-6925
by Friday November 6th.

We hope to see you there!  

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