May 10, 2012 - Claremont, Calif. - Harvey Mudd College juniors Lucas Brady and Kevin O’Neill have been awarded Goldwater Scholarships for the 2012-13 academic year.
Brady, a physics major, plans to earn a doctorate in theoretical physics and is considering becoming a professor at a small, undergraduate school.
“I don’t know what field of physics I want to focus on, although quantum theory, high energy physics, string theory and numerous similar disciplines are possible,” he said.
During his sophomore year, Brady worked in physics Professor Thomas Donnelly’s lab, studying the properties of Mie-scale particles for potential applications in small-scale, laser-driven fusion. He traveled last summer to Virginia to work in the theory wing at Jefferson National Lab, a particle accelerator facility. This year, he did theoretical and computational work in quantum information as part of the research group led by Theresa Lynn, associate professor of physics. Brady also serves as a physics tutor for HMC’s Academic Excellence program.
O’Neill, a math major, intends to earn a doctorate in mathematics, potentially focusing on analysis or topology, and eventually teaching at the university level.
Last summer, he worked with math Professor Francis Su and Rosalie Carlson ’13 on a research project where they studied collections of circular arcs and their graphs to solve a problem in voting theory.
“It was a great experience that served as an introduction to how you approach an open problem,” he said. “I’ve taken a lot of good classes, but this project was a highlight.”
This summer, O’Neill will participate in math research at Penn State University. Next year, he will conduct research in algebraic topology with Su and do a thesis on tropical geometry with Dagan Karp, assistant professor of mathematics.
Brady and O’Neill are among 282 Goldwater Scholars chosen from a field of 1,123 math, science and engineering students nominated by faculty members at colleges and universities nationwide. Selected based upon merit, this year’s Scholars include 194 students majoring in science and related majors, 58 engineering majors, 20 math majors and 10 computer science majors. One hundred seventy-four of the Scholars are men, 108 are women, and all intend to pursue doctorate degrees.
The Goldwater Foundation was established in 1986 in honor of Senator Barry M. Goldwater. Its scholarship program was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields.
Harvey Mudd College juniors Lucas Brady and Kevin O’Neill have been awarded Goldwater Scholarships for the 2012-13 academic year.
Media Contact: Judy Augsburger