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Laura Marcucci of Newport News, a doctoral student in physics at Old Dominion University, has received the Luise Meyer-Schutzmeister Award from the Association for Women in Science Educational Foundation.

The Meyer-Schutzmeister Award, a prestigious national honor given to an outstanding female student pursuing a doctorate in physics, is named for a former physicist at Argonne National Laboratory who helped perform measurements of gamma rays produced in nuclear reactions and conducted studies of the behavior of nuclei.

By summer's end, Marcucci, a native of Italy, will receive her Ph.D. in physics from Old Dominion based on her work in theoretical nuclear physics at Jefferson Lab.

Also an accomplished pianist, she has decided to pursue a career in physics rather than music.

Marcucci earned her bachelor's degree the University Degli Studi in Pisa. After graduation, Marcucci will return to Pisa, but said she would like to collaborate in the future with her colleagues at Jefferson.

Last year, the Meyer-Schutzmeister Award was given to Luminita Todor, another Old Dominion graduate student, for her work in experimental nuclear physics. This is the first time in the history of the award that winners in two successive years have come from the same university, according to AWS officials.

Marcucci's award "is an excellent quality-indicator of the kind of student we have attracted to our graduate program in physics and of the success we have had in making our department a hospitable place for women as well as for men," said James Cox, chairman of Old Dominion's physics department.

Marcucci's award includes a $500 prize.

Old Dominion's Gail Dodge, an assistant professor of physics, also won the award while she was a graduate student at Stanford.

"Working at Old Dominion was a very good experience," Marcucci said. "During my Ph.D. studies, I had to take some classes and review some subjects that maybe I already knew, but it was good anyway. "I enjoyed very much the opportunity of going to colloquia and seminars organized by the department to get to know some physics outside my specific research area."

This article was posted on: March 7, 2000

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