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Faculty & Staff Focus, General Information, Honors & Awards, Science & Technology

LSU Physicists Named American Physical Society Fellows

12/05/2011 01:12 PM

BATON ROUGE – Associate Professor of Physics & Astronomy Mette Gaarde and Physics & Astronomy Professor James Matthews were named fellows by the American Physical Society, or APS, one the world’s largest organizations for physicists.


“I am very pleased and honored to join the distinguished company of APS fellows at LSU and around the world,” said Gaarde.


Gaarde is also a 2011 Tiger Athletic Foundation Undergraduate Teaching Award winner and a 2005 recipient of NSF’s Faculty Early Career Development, or CAREER, Award.


Gaarde earned a bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in physics from Copenhagen University in Denmark. Her research focuses on the rapidly growing field of attosecond science, which lies at the interface between ultrafast atomic physics and extreme non-linear optics.


According to the APS citation, Gaarde is recognized “for important contributions to the macroscopic theory of high harmonic generation and attosecond light formation.”


Matthews also joins the growing list of LSU APS fellows, which now totals 16.


“I am very humbled to be elected an APS Fellow. It is an acknowledgement from your peers that they respect what you are doing,” said Matthews. “When you enjoy your work as much as I do, it is gratifying to know that it is considered to be valuable.”


In 2010, Matthews was elected co-spokesperson for the Pierre Auger Cosmic Ray Observatory, an international cosmic ray observatory located in western Argentina’s Mendoza Province. He is also a co-winner of the 1989 Rossi Prize from the American Astronomical Society for the discovery of neutrinos from supernova SN1987a.


Matthews earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also participates in the Louisiana Board of Regents Joint Faculty Appointments Program, where he holds a joint appointment as a professor of physics at LSU and Southern University and A&M College. Currently, Matthews is conducting research with the Pierre Auger Observatory, where he is studying ultra-high energy cosmic rays, the most energetic and rarest of particles in the universe.


According to his APS citation, Matthews is recognized “for early contributions to underground experiments, including the observation of neutrinos from supernova 1987a as a member of the IBM experiment” and “for a leadership role in the construction, commissioning and operation of the Auger cosmic ray detector.”


The names and citations of the fellows will be published in the March 2012 issue of APS News. The fellows will also be featured on the APS Fellowship website at  


APS members who have made significant contributions to the advancement of physics through independent, original research are eligible for fellowship nomination and election. Each nomination is evaluated by the appropriate division, topical group or forum of the APS Fellowship Committee. After review by the APS Fellowship Committee, the candidates are elected by APS Council. Only one-half of 1 percent of APS members may hold the rank of fellow at any time.


For a complete list of LSU APS Fellows, go to

LSU College of Science

LSU Research Communications