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Dr. Kenneth J. Schafer, LSU's Newest Boyd Professor, Named 2023 Fall Commencement Speaker for the College of Science

Ken Schafer Boyd Professor Portrait

Caption: Dr. Kenneth J. Schafer, LSU’s Newest Boyd Professor Photo Credit: Eddy Perez

BATON ROUGE - Graduates from the LSU College of Science this fall will be treated to insights from an internationally acclaimed physicist and highly esteemed professor as Dr. Kenneth J. Schafer takes the stage as the 2023 Fall Commencement Speaker. Recently bestowed with the prestigious Boyd Professor rank, the highest academic honor at LSU, Dr. Schafer’s illustrious career is marked by significant contributions to Nobel Prize-winning research and an unwavering commitment to excellence in education.

Since joining LSU’s physics department in 1995, Dr. Schafer has become a leading figure in ultrafast laser and X-ray physics, specializing in laser-molecular interactions and dynamics. His early groundbreaking research transformed ultrafast laser physics, demonstrating the conversion of infrared light to extreme ultraviolet and X-rays using ultrashort laser pulses. This pioneering work has had a lasting impact on the field, leading to the establishment of “attosecond physics”, a discipline that was recently recognized with a Nobel Prize Award. Shafer has worked with two of the 2023 Physics Nobel Prize Laureates, Dr. Anne L’Huillier and Pierre Agostini, since the 1990s and had the privilege of attending the Nobel Prize Ceremony as a special guest of L’Huillier.

Dr. Schafer’s influence extends beyond research, as evidenced by his leadership in securing substantial funding through multi-institution center proposals, including a $12.5 million grant from the Department of Defense. His impressive list of accolades, including the National Science Foundation Early Career Award and international honors, underscores the global significance of his contributions. As a fellow of esteemed organizations such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Optical Society of America, and the American Physical Society, Dr. Schafer’s legacy solidifies LSU’s position as a global leader in the field.

More on Dr. Kenneth J. Schafer

Check the inside front cover of this edition of Nature Magazine.

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