6:00: Morning News

Newest Distinguished West Virginians recognized by Gov. Justice Monday

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice came to Morgantown Monday to recognize the two newest Distinguished West Virginians.

Gov. Jim Justice

West Virginia University Professors Maura McLaughlin and Duncan Lorimer were co-recipients of the Shaw Prize last year for their work in the discovery of fast radio bursts (FRBs). The two join the list of recipients that includes legends like Jimbo Fisher, Brad Paisley, and Pearl Buck as some of the most notable residents of the state.

“The whole world is basically saying to us that these are the best,” Justice said. “These are the best, they are the superstars and they’re from West Virginia and they’re at West Virginia University.”

In addition to winning the Shaw Prize in 2023, each has now been inducted into prestigious scientific communities. Lorimer is now a member of the Royal Society of Professorship, which includes members like Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein and McLaughlin is now a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

“It is unbelievable the level of intellect, the level of just excitement, excitement challenge and creativity that’s going on at this great university—it’s just great stuff,” Justice said.

Maura McLaughlin

McLaughlin hopes this recognition will allow her to further research and focus on providing science, technology and math opportunities to new groups of people to augment the pipeline of available workers in technical fields.

“I think that’s going to be positive for my research career as far as opportunities to be a leader in the field and impact science policy,” McLaughlin said.

Lorimer was born in the United Kingdom and graduated from the University of Manchester in the 1990s before coming to the United States around 1998. He began working at WVU in 2006 and actually discovered the first FRB in 2007.

“I’ve lived in West Virginia longer than I have lived anywhere in my life and to have the chance to meet the governor is just great,” Lorimer said.

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