FRIB professorial assistant earns Goldwater Scholarship

29 March 2024

Aaron Philip, a professorial assistant at FRIB, has earned a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, becoming Michigan State University’s fifty-fifth Goldwater Scholar.

The Goldwater Foundation seeks sophomores and juniors committed to a research career in STEM fields with the potential for significant future contribution in their chosen field. The award provides $7,500 per year in funding for 51 students for undergraduate tuition and living expenses.

For the 2024 Goldwater Scholarship competition, 1,353 undergraduates were nominated by 446 institutions. Philip was among 438 scholars selected. The funding for the award is a collaboration between the U.S. Congress and the Department of Defense’s National Defense Education Program.

Philip is a second-year Michigan State University student from Los Alamos, New Mexico studying Physics and Advanced Mathematics in the College of Natural Science. He is also a member of the Honors College.

“I am honored and humbled to join the ranks of Spartan Goldwater Scholars. I share this recognition with my professors, research mentors, fellow students, and family who have all supported me and cultivated my passion to pursue a career in physics research,” Philip said. “Specifically, I would like to thank my research mentors over the past few years for their guidance, encouragement, and mentorship: Drs. Pablo Giuliani, Kyle Godbey, Witek Nazarewicz, Odelia Schwartz, Jianliang Qian, and Benjamin Nebgen.”

Philip is passionate about pursuing a career in research addressing micro-scale physics problems using analytic approaches, high performance computing, and AI. He has contributed to diverse research projects through his roles as a professorial assistant at FRIB, a Discovering America researcher with MSU’s Math Department, a student intern at the Theoretical Division of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), and as a Computer Science Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) student at the University of Miami.

“Aaron joined our nuclear theory research group at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams at Michigan State University in August 2022 as an undergraduate research assistant. An incoming first-year undergraduate student, he came extremely well prepared to directly work in forefront research and quickly managed to get acquainted with the necessary tools and background knowledge,” Kyle Godbey, a research assistant professor at FRIB, and Witold Nazarewicz, John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor of Physics and chief scientist at FRIB, said.

“During the course of his work, Aaron was able to reach a level of mastery of theoretical and computational methods on par with the current experts in the field. We consider ourselves to be incredibly lucky to have Aaron as a member of our research group and we have no doubt that he will go on to have a successful research career,” Godbey and Nazarewicz said.

“Aaron’s research at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams has been exemplary, and his mentorship activities embody the values of care and support that empower excellence at the MSU Honors College. We congratulate Aaron on being named a Goldwater Scholar,” Long said.

Philip has written two papers and presented at various conferences, including MSU’s Mathematics and Data Science Conferences, the University of Miami’s Computer Science REU Poster Presentation, and a LANL Lab Directed Research and Development Review. He also serves as a student tutor through the Mathematics Learning Center and at East Lansing High School.

“Congratulations to Aaron on this esteemed achievement,” said FRIB Laboratory Director Thomas Glasmacher. “Being named a Goldwater Scholar is a testament to Aaron’s dedication and outstanding efforts. We are so proud he is furthering his research pursuits at FRIB and honored to be part of his journey as he prepares to become a leader in our field.”

Read the original article on the MSUToday website.

Michigan State University operates the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams as a user facility for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC), supporting the mission of the DOE-SC Office of Nuclear Physics.