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LU Physicists Meet with Rep. Weber on Capitol Hill

Lamar University representatives were among more than 100 nuclear physicists from across the nation who met with members of Congress on Nuclear Physics Day in Washington, D.C., March 11.  

Physics Chair and Professor Dr. Philip Cole, along with undergraduate physics major, Alek Hutson, met with
Physicists to DC
 Alek Hutson, Prof. Philip Cole, (Lamar University),
Rep. Randy Weber, Dr. Majumdar (Notre Dame) 
Congressman Randy Weber to discuss the benefits of the applications of nuclear science. They also shared some Big Red spirit with the Congressman.

“It was an honor to meet with Rep. Weber,” said Cole. “He is a great supporter of Lamar University. Not all physicists got to meet their representative in person, but we had about 15 minutes.”

Cole said he and Hutson made Weber aware of Lamar University’s extensive opportunities for undergraduate research and then briefed him on some ongoing projects. Currently, undergraduate students are conducting research related to infrared cameras mounted on drones, coring techniques, nuclear physics applications on sampling soils after the Harvey impact and optical detection of methane leaks through drone-mounted infrared imaging of pipelines. The optical detection project is coordinated between the Departments of Physics and Earth and Space Sciences and Infrared Camera Inc. and being conducted by undergraduate students Jared Richards and Mindy Clark, through funding by Lamar’s Center for Innovation, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship (CICE).  
Cole and Hutson shared details for their research fresh on their minds. At spring break, they researched the inner structure of the proton in Hall B of Jefferson Lab, which is located in Newport News, Virginia.  Hutson’s travel was enabled through a grant from the Office of Undergraduate Research. Lamar is the only Texas institute associated with Jefferson Lab, which is a crown jewel of American Nuclear Physics.

“The Congressman was very interested in all of our projects but specifically intrigued by the research at Infrared Cameras, Inc. and how it could greatly benefit Southeast Texas in protecting Southeast Texas’ pipeline infrastructure,” said Cole. “He wanted to know more even though his staff said he had another meeting.”

One of the meeting highlights was pinning a LU Cardinal lapel pin on Weber.  Cole said Weber made a comment that he didn’t have one and so Cole offered his.

“He wore his Lamar University pin on his right lapel and his insignia for Member of Congress on his left lapel,” said Cole.