Jun 20, 2011 - Claremont, Calif. - HMC physics major Paul Riggins ’12 of Whittier, Calif. has been selected as a 2011-12 Astronaut Scholar by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF), a non-profit organization providing scholarships for college students pursuing science and technology careers.
As an Astronaut Scholar, Riggins will receive a $10,000 award. Astronaut Scholars are selected based on academic performance, merit and capability in academic research and must attend one of the 19 institutions ASF supports, be entering their junior or senior year or pursuing a master’s degree and be nominated by a professor.
Riggins, who is interested in pursuing teaching and research, has been on the dean’s list for the last three years. In Spring 2010, he was awarded the Rojansky Prize by the HMC Physics Department for his term paper on quantum mechanics. He is an experienced tutor, as part of the Physics Academic Excellence team and as a physics workshop tutor preparing first-years for their upcoming mechanics course. Riggins has a strong interest in music and theater and has been active in both since high school. Most recently he was a part of the 5-C a cappella group Mood Swing and the Joint Music Program's Chamber and Concert Choirs. He performed in a theatrical production last summer performed by La Habra High School alumni.
Riggins and classmate Dhruv Ranganathan ’12 conducted a research project on the algebraic geometry relevant to string theory with advisor and mathematics Professor Dagan Karp and HMC Mathematics Department teaching and research postdoctoral fellow Ursula Whitcher. Riggins and Ranganathan have presented their research at various seminars and meetings, including at the Western Algebraic Geometry Seminar at the University of Arizona; the Algebra, Number Theory, and Combinatorics Seminar hosted by the Claremont Center for the Mathematical Sciences; and Joint Math Meetings in New Orleans. The research team is currently writing a paper to be submitted for publication. Riggins continues to study string theory in his summer research project, currently underway with advisor and physics Professor Vatche Sahakian, which will explore more accurate models for black holes.
The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 1984 by the six surviving members of America's original Mercury astronauts. Its mission is to aid the U.S. in retaining its world leadership in science and technology by providing scholarships for college students who exhibit motivation, imagination and exceptional performance in these fields. ASF has awarded almost $3 million to deserving students nationwide. Currently, more than 80 astronauts from the Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Space Shuttle and Space Station programs have joined in this educational endeavor.
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HMC physics major Paul Riggins ’12 of Whittier, Calif. has been selected as a 2011-12 Astronaut Scholar by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF), a non-profit organization providing scholarships for college students pursuing science and technology careers.