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UCLA Desert Plant Specialist Highlights NMSU Lecture Series

LAS CRUCES - A nationally-known expert in desert plant physiology and consultant to the makers of Jose Cuervo tequila is the featured speaker at a special New Mexico State University lecture series presentations Jan. 17 at 7:30 p.m. and Jan. 18 at 3:30 p.m., both in the Corbett Center Senate Gallery.


Park Nobel of the University of California at Los Angeles will give a seminar on environment responses and productivity of agaves and cacti as part of the Lowenstein Lecture Series for NMSU's agronomy and horticulture department.

"Park has worked extensively with cacti and is an expert on plant-water relationships," said Rolston St. Hilaire, NMSU assistant professor of agronomy and horticulture. "His research has immediate applications for New Mexico." In addition, he said, Nobel has had a direct impact on instructional delivery, contributing to several physiology textbooks.

Nobel is a specialist in biophysics, especially in desert plants. The scientific field deals with the application of physics to biological processes.

"I'm interested in succulent plants that have commercial applications in Mexico and Latin America," Nobel said in a brief telephone interview this week. This includes plants like blue agave, which are used in the production of distilled spirits like tequila.

Nobel received his bachelor's degree in engineering physics from Cornell University. He earned his master's degree in physics from the California Institute of Technology and his doctorate in biophysics from the University of California-Berkeley. He is currently a professor in UCLA's department of organismic biology, ecology and evolution.

NMSU's Lowenstein Lecture Series is made possible through a gift from Bonnie and Bernard Lowenstein of Albuquerque. The presentations are aimed at promoting interest and better understanding of floriculture and recreational horticulture. In addition, NMSU has offered the Bonnie Lowenstein Memorial endowed scholarship for undergraduates since 1993.