World-renowned Physicist Gabriela González Awarded SEC Faculty Achievement Award

Gabriela Gonzalez photo

LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy Professor Gabriela González has been named LSU’s honoree for the 2019 Southeastern Conference, or SEC, Faculty Achievement Award.

Photo Credit: Eddy Perez, LSU.

BATON ROUGE – LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy Professor Gabriela González has been named LSU’s honoree for the 2019 Southeastern Conference, or SEC, Faculty Achievement Award. González is an experimental physicist with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, or LIGO, who contributed to the detection of gravitational waves in 2015 predicted by Albert Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity. Three of the pioneering leaders of LIGO received the Nobel Prize in Physics for the detection of gravitational waves.

“It’s an honor to be recognized among the approximately 14,000 tenured faculty in the SEC for this year’s Faculty Achievement Award. This award was made possible through the dedication of my talented students, colleagues at LSU and collaborators around the world,” González said.

González’s research and work as the former spokesperson for the 1,000-member international LIGO Scientific Collaboration opened a new window of discovery to the cosmos. This milestone discovery was recognized as the 2016 Breakthrough of the Year by Science magazine. As an experimental physicist, González’s current research involves the reduction and characterization of noise to enhance the laser interferometers’ sensitivity to detect gravitational waves, calibrate the detectors and analyze data. She was recognized in 2016 as one of the “Ten People Who Mattered” by the scientific journal Nature; received the 2017 National Academy of Sciences Award for Scientific Discovery; and is a newly elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the National Academy of Sciences.

González was born and raised in Córdoba, Argentina. She studied physics at the University of Córdoba, where she earned a college physics degree. She came to the U.S. to pursue and attain her Ph.D. from Syracuse University. Her doctorate focused on Brownian motion applied to LIGO detectors. Her work on gravitational waves detection took her to universities across the U.S. including MIT and Penn State. She joined the faculty at LSU in 2001. She was the longest serving elected spokesperson for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration — a position she held for six years from 2011-2017.

The SEC Faculty Achievement Award, now in its seventh year, was established by the presidents and chancellors of the SEC universities to recognize outstanding faculty at each of the 14 SEC institutions. Consideration requires that an individual be a full professor and demonstrate remarkable scholarship and research that is recognized at national and international levels. 

The individuals selected for the Faculty Achievement Award represent the best academics throughout the SEC. SEC Faculty Achievement Award winners become his or her university’s nominee for the SEC Professor of the Year Award, which will be announced in April.

The SEC Faculty Achievement Awards and the SEC Professor of the Year Award are both selected by the SEC provosts, and they are two foundational programs designed by the SEC to support and promote the academic endeavors and achievements of its students, faculty and administrators.

LSU faculty who have received the SEC Faculty Achievement Award include LSU Boyd Professor of Physics Ward Plummer in 2018; LSU Boyd Professor Susanne Brenner; LSU Boyd Professor Isiah Warner in 2016; LSU Boyd Professor of European Intellectual History Suzanne L. Marchand in 2015; LSU Boyd Professor Mark Batzer in 2014; Katherine P. Kemler, the Charles and Mary Barre Alumni Professor of Flute in 2013; and LSU Boyd Professor of English J. Gerald Kennedy in 2012.


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SEC Selects 2019 Faculty Achievement Award Recipients:


Contact Mimi LaValle
LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy

Alison Satake
LSU Media Relations