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Haverford College

Marian E. Koshland Integrated Natural Sciences Center

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Samuel Rodriques '13 Receives Goldwater Scholarship

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Rodriques, whose academic interests are applied mathematics and theoretical physics, was named a Goldwater Scholar. The program helps outstanding students pursue careers in the sciences and engineering.

Samuel Rodriques ’13 has been awarded a Goldwater Scholarship. The scholarship program, which honors Senator Barry M. Goldwater, was designed to aid outstanding students in pursuing careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. Rodriques was one of 282 Goldwater Scholars selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,123 students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide.

“I owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to professors Stephon Alexander and Peter Love who have mentored me throughout my time at Haverford, and to the Physics Department, which provides a fantastic support network and numerous opportunities for its students,” says Rodriques, who has spent the academic year abroad at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge University, taking graduate and undergraduate courses in applied mathematics and theoretical physics.

Rodriques has been working with Assistant Professor of Physics Peter Love, examining quantum entanglement, which Rodriquez calls “probably the most enigmatic property of quantum mechanics.”

“The research focuses on investigating whether quantum entanglement can play a significant role in biological process like photosynthesis,” he says.

Rodriques was also the recipient of the Beckman Scholarship this year, which funds 15 months of research for exceptional science students. He will be using that grant to return to Harvard University, where he spent the summer of 2011, for a second summer devoted to continued research on quantum information.

Rodriques’s future plans include getting a Ph.D. in theoretical physics or applied mathematics. “I have a number of side interests as well,” he says. “I’m very passionate about the policy side of physics, such as energy and climate physics, and I think scientists have an obligation to make scientific knowledge public.”

Rodriques says his interest in physics is about more than particles and fields. “Economists describe fluctuations in the stock market using Brownian motion, which is the type of random motion particles experience when they are immersed in fluid,” he observes. Traffic jams, the ways that human beings arrange themselves in groups, the spread of diseases, and more, are all now being analyzed through the lens of theoretical physics, he points out. “What excites me about physics is the possibility that insights and techniques from our studies of the natural world will help us to describe the workings of the world as we experience it.”

Read more about Fords who have won fellowships, scholarships or grants.

—Eils Lotozo .