Catherine Deibel Named LSU "Rainmakers" Leaders in Research

BATON ROUGE - The LSU Office of Research & Economic Development, or ORED, recognizes outstanding faculty who are leaders in their fields each year with the Rainmakers Awards for Research and Creative Activity. Rainmakers are faculty members who balance their teaching and research responsibilities while extending the impact of their work to the world beyond academia. These leading faculty also have an established track record in securing external research funding and publishing in high-impact journals.

     Catherine Deibel, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, was named a Rainmaker in the category of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Emerging Scholar. Deibel works in the experimental nuclear physics group, conducting research in some of the forefront areas of nuclear physics relating especially to nuclear astrophysics.

          "Congratulations to this year's LSU Rainmakers," said LSU President F. King Alexander. "Excellence in research and scholarship are the hallmarks of a truly great university, and these faculty members' contributions to both LSU and their respective fields of study merit recognition and celebration."

          On March 16, ORED, with the support of Campus Federal Credit Union, acknowledged this year's Rainmakers at a special reception.

Catherine Deibel received her bachelor's degree from Amherst College and her doctorate in the field of experimental nuclear astrophysics from Yale University. Her doctoral research focused on the synthesis of Al-26 in stellar explosions known as classical nova. She then spent three years at Argonne National Laboratory as a Visiting Research Associate with the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics studying a series of nuclear reactions responsible for driving the most common stellar explosions in the galaxy: x-ray bursts.

          Since joining the faculty in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at LSU in 2011, she has continued her research on the synthesis of elements in a variety of stellar explosions, including supernovae, x-ray bursts and classical novae. Specifically, she has developed experimental devices and techniques to measure the nuclear reactions responsible for this nucleosynthesis and employed them at accelerator laboratories around the country and abroad, including the installation of a 35-ton magnetic spectrograph at Florida State University supported by a Major Research Instrumentation Award from the National Science Foundation.

          "Dr. Deibel's accomplishments since coming to LSU are impressive," said Michael Cherry, LSU Physics & Astronomy Department Chair. "She developed a new heavy ion detector and cryogenic gas target that are becoming central to a broad new program of measurements at Argonne National Loboratory. She has over 25 journal articles published since coming to LSU, including articles in Science and Physical Review Letters, with approximately 150 citations in each of the last two years."

          Deibel has also received a five-year Career Award from the Department of Energy as well as an LSU College of Science Research Award for her work.

         “We acknowledge the talent and dedication among LSU faculty by recognizing these exemplary individuals as Rainmakers. They are part of what make this university great,” said LSU Vice President of Research & Economic Development Kalliat T. Valsaraj, who will present the awards in a ceremony held at the Club at LSU Union Square. “We couldn’t do this without the support of Campus Federal Credit Union, and we thank them for their support of our commitment to academic and research excellence.”

         “Campus Federal was founded by seven distinguished LSU faculty members in 1934, so it is a fitting legacy for us to continue supporting distinguished faculty for their accomplishments in research today,” said Chief development officer at Campus Federal, Ron Moreau. “We appreciate the opportunity to support these innovative faculty members who represent not only academic accomplishments but for their support and mentorship of LSU students.”

          In addition to Deibel, each of the following award-winning faculty members has met one or more of the criteria for high-quality research or creative activities and scholarship, which include, but are not limited to publication in a high-impact journal(s); a highly cited work; external awards; invited presentations at national and international meetings; high journal publication productivity; critically acclaimed book publication(s), performance(s), exhibit(s) or theatrical production(s); high grant productivity; and, for more senior candidates, outstanding citation records and high-impact invited presentations at national and international meetings.


Emerging Scholar Award, Arts, Humanities, Social & Behavioral Sciences

Jesse Allison, College of Music & Dramatic Arts, School of Music


Mid-Career Scholar Award, Arts, Humanities, Social & Behavioral Sciences

Alex Cohen, College of Humanities & Social Sciences, Department of Psychology


Mid-Career Scholar Award, Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics

Prosanta Chakrabarty, College of Science, Department of Biological Sciences


Senior Scholar Award, Arts, Humanities, Social & Behavioral Sciences

Fahui Wang, College of Humanities & Social Sciences, Department Geography & Anthropology   


Senior Scholar Award, Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics

Marcia Newcomer, College of Science, Department of Biological Sciences

All Rainmaker recipients receive a one-time stipend of $1,000 and a plaque in recognition of their achievements.

Additional Links:

Rainmakers Awards for Research and Creative Activity:

Campus Federal Credit Union:


Mimi LaValle
LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy

Alison Satake

LSU Media Relations



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