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Gov. Justice names two WVU astrophysicists Distinguished Mountaineers for their contributions to the scientific community

MORGANTOWN, WV — Gov. Jim Justice today named two West Virginia University astrophysicists Distinguished Mountaineers for their globally recognized contributions to the scientific community.

Dr. Maura McLaughlin and Dr. Duncan Lorimer have recently been honored by internationally accredited organizations, bringing significant recognition to the State of West Virginia and WVU.

“I’m proud to be here to celebrate two very bright and inspiring professors,” Gov. Justice said. “The strides made by Dr. McLaughlin and Dr. Lorimer in the science community are truly remarkable. In particular, their contributions at our state’s flagship institution representing the State of West Virginia on the international stage make these achievements even more special.”
Dr. McLaughlin was recently elected to the elite National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors in the scientific world, for her groundbreaking work in discovering evidence for gravitational waves. She is the first WVU researcher to join this prestigious group. 

Her research team recently announced evidence for gravitational waves with periods of years to decades that had never been observed, using the Green Bank Telescope in Pocahontas County as the primary instrument.

Dr. Lorimer was named a 2024 Fellow of the Royal Society of London, often referred to as the ‘Oscar’ of the science community. Lorimer is one of 90 researchers elected to the Royal Society this year, recognized for his work with pulsar astrophysics and his role in the discovery of fast radio bursts.

The Royal Society, founded in 1660, is the oldest continuously running organization of its kind and is devoted to advancing science for the betterment of humanity.
“You have both already won several awards because of your success, and I proudly present another,” Gov. Justice said. “Your hard work and dedication have built one of the world’s leading astrophysics research programs and continues to strengthen WVU’s reputation as one of America’s foremost research institutions. Thank you all for making the entire state proud.”

The Distinguished Mountaineer is the highest honor the Governor can award a non-native West Virginian.