LSU Geophysicist Selected as Radcliffe Institute Fellow

Patricia Persaud

Patricia Persaud, LSU assistant professor of geology and geophysics

Photo Credit: April Buffington

Patricia Persaud has been named a 2020–2021 fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, joining an impressive class whose work will span the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and arts.

As the 2020–2021 Edward, Frances, and Shirley B. Daniels Fellow, Persaud will pursue an individual project in a community dedicated to exploration and inquiry. Her research focuses on identifying the risk of human-induced earthquakes in Louisiana.

“This fellowship class, taking shape amid a devastating pandemic, reflects our conviction that the cross-disciplinary exchange and deep exploration that Radcliffe enables are critically important for Harvard and for the wider world—especially in times like these, when we must confront unprecedented challenges,” said Radcliffe Dean Tomiko Brown-Nagin RI ’17, who is also the Daniel P. S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School and a professor of history in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

“Our fellows will advance human understanding in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Their creative work will change how we see the world. And they will pursue solutions to some of the most pressing issues facing our society. Their endeavors will be immeasurably enhanced by the unique intellectual cross-fertilization that takes place at Radcliffe.”

The 2020–2021 fellowship year will be virtual, with the possibility of a residential component, pending decisions on Harvard-wide policies by University leaders and informed by epidemiological models of the spread of COVID-19 in the United States. The acceptance rate for the incoming class was 2.8 percent, from a pool of nearly 1,400 applicants. The group represents six countries and a wide range of disciplines.

Patricia Persaud completed her PhD in Geophysics at California Institute of Technology. She was a Postdoctoral Science Fellow at Columbia University, NY. Persaud joined Louisiana State University’s Department of Geology and Geophysics in 2016. In her Radcliffe project, she will use recordings of ground motions in Louisiana to search for small earthquakes that are difficult to detect to help advance our understanding of where and why such earthquakes occur. 

“The opportunity to interact with the other fellows in the program and immerse myself in the interdisciplinary and collaborative aspects of the fellowship is most appealing. Taking the time to focus on an important scientific problem that can be impactful for millions is another strong motivation for me.” 

The Radcliffe Institute has awarded more than 900 fellowships since its founding in 1999.

The full list of fellows is online here.


About the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University

The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study is a unique space within Harvard—a school dedicated to creating and sharing transformative ideas across all disciplines. Each year, the Institute hosts leading scholars, scientists, and artists from around the world in its renowned residential fellowship program. Radcliffe fosters innovative research collaborations and offers hundreds of public lectures, exhibitions, performances, conferences, and other events annually. The Institute is home to the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library, the nation’s foremost archive on the history of women, gender, and sexuality. For more information about the people and programs of the Radcliffe Institute, visit