LSU College of Science Names New Ball Family Distinguished Professor
BATON ROUGE – LSU Professor Geoffrey C. Clayton has been awarded the Ball Family Distinguished Professorship in Physics & Astronomy.
“We are excited to add Geoffrey to the list of prestigious Ball professors,” said Kevin Carman, dean of the LSU College of Science. “His continued commitment to education and research made him an excellent candidate for this honorific.”
Clayton earned a Bachelor of Science in astronomy from the University of Toronto in 1977 and a Master of Science in Astronomy in 1979 from the University of Western Ontario. He later returned to the University of Toronto to earn a doctorate in Astronomy in 1983.
“It is very nice to receive this recognition from LSU for doing a job that I love,” said Clayton. “I am very grateful to the Ball family for their ongoing generosity to faculty and students in the Department of Physics & Astronomy.”
Clayton’s past awards include the 2010 LSU Alumni Association Faculty Excellence Award and the 2001 LSU College of Basic Sciences Faculty Research Award.
Currently, Clayton’s research focuses on the study and understanding of cosmic dust, particularly its formation in supernova explosions. Clayton hopes to explain the large amounts seen in young galaxies shortly after the Big Bang and examine how the dust-forming R Coronae Borealis stars are born.
“In just the last few years, Geoff Clayton and his students have made a number of observations about carbon isotope ratios in stars and about dust in supernova remnants that have generated a tremendous amount of interest,” said Michael Cherry, chair of the LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy. “His students have been remarkably successful obtaining their own independent NASA funding for their observations, and have gone off to excellent positions from Massachusetts to Australia. Geoff is a very deserving recipient of this professorship, for which we greatly appreciate the generous support of the Ball family.”
LSU alumni, Alice and Byrd Ball, have established two Ball Family Distinguished Professorships in Physics & Astronomy to recognize LSU faculty who have demonstrated outstanding achievements in the field and are nationally and internationally renowned as exemplary educators, scholars and researchers in physics and astronomy.
Baton Rouge native Byrd Ball graduated from Baton Rouge High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1961 from LSU, where he was a member of the ROTC cadets as well as the campus leadership society Omicron Delta Kappa. Ball spent the year following graduation at Yale University as a Rockefeller Trial Year Fellow. He worked at IBM for most of his professional career and retired in 1993 as vice president of business development. Since then, he has provided strategic planning and executive coaching to up and coming entrepreneurs through his consulting firm, Ball Family Partners.
Alice Ball graduated cum laude from Randolph Macon College for Women in 1961 and earned a certificate in social work from LSU in 1966. The Balls are very active in their local community and with their alma maters. Alice has served as chair of Randolph College’s Board of Trustees, and they have established an endowed chair in Asian studies there. Byrd was a member of the LSU Basic Sciences Development Council from 1992-1998 and the LSU Campaign Leadership Team from 1999-2001. In 2010, he was inducted into the LSU College of Science’s Hall of Distinction.