LSU Boyd Professor O’Connell Retires After 53-Year Career


December 20, 2017


BATON ROUGE – Robert F. O’Connell, PhD, LSU Boyd professor, has retired after a distinguished career as a researcher, administrator and mentor. He joined the faculty of the LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy in January 1964 as a tenure-track assistant professor.

“Bob has established an international reputation in the fields of quantum optics, atomic physics, stochastic physics and general relativity and has been a leader in the area of dissipative and fluctuation phenomena in quantum mechanics,” said John DiTusa, chair, Department of Physics & Astronomy. “His work embraces frontier problems in quantum statistical mechanics and electrodynamics.”

oconnellO’Connell has been recognized for his service to the field by the American Physical Society as a Fellow (1969) and as one of its initial Outstanding Referees (2008) after having been honored with the presentation of the volume of “The Physical Review: The First Hundred Years” in 1995. He has served in an editorial position on multiple journals including as a board member for the Journal of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics, Journal of Physics A, Hadronic Journal Supplement, and Physical Review A. He has also served the LSU faculty as the Faculty Senate Vice President and President for several years. In addition, O’Connell has been honored by LSU as a Distinguished Research Master (1975) and as a Boyd Professor (1986).

Throughout his career, O’Connell has maintained a high profile among his peers, named as a NAS-NRC Fellow at the NASA Institute of Space Studies in New York (1966-68), and a Senior Visiting Fellow at Oxford University and the University of London (1975-76). Extended periods were spent as a visiting scientist at such prestigious institutions as Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Munich, Germany. He was also invited to be a visiting professor at the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies, the University of Ulm, Germany, Cambridge University, University of Trondheim, University of Paris XI, Orsay, ICTP Trieste, University of Warsaw, Universidade Federal De Santa Catarina, Brazil, Technical University of Denmark, and Bilkent University, Turkey. He has a total of 325 refereed publications in prestigious journals in the fields of physics and astrophysics.

O’Connell earned a BS in Physics from the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) in 1953, where he also received the Sir J.J. Larmor Prize in physics. After working for four years as a telecommunications engineer, he went to the U.S. in 1958 and obtained a PhD in Physics from the University of Notre Dame in 1962 and a D.Sc. in 1975 from NUIG.  He was a Scholar at the School of Theoretical Physics at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Dublin, Ireland and was a Systems Analyst for IBM in Dublin, prior to joining LSU.




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LSU Physics & Astronomy