Laura Lapham, a chemical oceanographer at Florida State University, Tallahassee, is among five recipients of the 2008 L’Oréal USA Fellowships for Women in Science awards, presented by cosmetics leader L’Oréal USA. The awards recognize the achievements of postdoctoral women scientists across a range of disciplines.
“We must engage the many intelligent young minds in our field,” said Ralph J. Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences, who presided over the jury. “A diverse scientific community produces more cutting-edge research, which is essential to solving some of the world’s most complex problems.”
Lapham is conducting research that may lead to new discoveries based on the use of methane hydrates as a potential energy source. She is working to determine how much methane is entrained as a hydrate, how stable these reservoirs are, and how to harvest these deposits for fuel. The primary focus of her research is the development of instrumentation to regularly measure methane that has dissolved in sediments around the hydrates over time, which will allow researchers to better understand the role of hydrates in an abrupt climate-change situation.
The other four winners are neuroscientist Sara Aton, physicist Ania Bleszynski-Jayich, computational neuroscientist Sridevi Vedula Sarma, and aerospace engineer Sandra Ugrina. The winners received their awards during a ceremony in New York City on May 22. Awardees each receive $40,000 to be used toward independent scientific research.