NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Rutgers University physics student David Kolchmeyer has been awarded the prestigious Churchill Scholarship for graduate study at England’s University of Cambridge, one of the oldest universities in the English-speaking world and one of the world’s leading academic institutions.
The Rutgers senior and East Brunswick resident will pursue a Master of Advanced Study degree in applied mathematics and theoretical physics.Kolchmeyer is one of 14 students chosen this year to receive the scholarship from the Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States. The award funds graduate study by American students in the sciences, engineering and mathematics. Valued at up to $60,000, the scholarship covers tuition for a nine-month or one-year program, living and travel expenses and the option of applying for a research grant up to $2,000.
“I am very excited to study in a different country, and I look forward to living in Churchill College with others who come from a wide variety of academic and cultural backgrounds,” said Kolchmeyer. He plans to focus on theoretical high-energy physics, which complements his undergraduate studies and research work in experimental high-energy physics. These fields garnered widespread attention in recent years when thousands of scientists worldwide, including a dozen or so from Rutgers, contributed to discovering the Higgs boson using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) located near Geneva, Switzerland.
Kolchmeyer spent the past summer at CERN – the European Organization for Nuclear Research – a multinational scientific laboratory that hosts the LHC. He was one of 13 students in the National Science Foundation-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates program at CERN, administered by the University of Michigan. During that time he worked with a postdoctoral researcher from the Instituto de Fisica de Cantabria in Spain and continued his Rutgers research – searching for evidence of new subatomic particles generated by proton collisions in the LHC. These particles may give scientists insight into previously unknown properties of matter.
Last spring, Kolchmeyer was one of two Rutgers students awarded a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for excellence in mathematics, science and engineering. In addition to his studies and research this year in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the School of Arts and Sciences, he is a teaching assistant for an experimental lab course for third- and fourth-year physics majors. He describes that lab as “the most advanced experimental physics course that an undergraduate can take.”
Kolchmeyer is a member of the Rutgers chapter of the Institute for Domestic and International Affairs where he has served as a staff member of ten model United Nations or model Congress conferences. He has played jazz saxophone in various Mason Gross School of the Arts chamber ensembles since his first semester at Rutgers.
After he earns his master’s degree from Cambridge, he plans to pursue doctoral studies in theoretical high-energy physics in the United States.Churchill Scholarships were first awarded in 1963, after former British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill asked American friends to establish funding for young Americans to study at the university’s newly established Churchill College. One of 31 colleges at Cambridge, Churchill College serves an international community of students studying sciences and the humanities.
“We are proud to have a student of David’s caliber and accomplishment representing Rutgers in this elite group of scholars,” said Arthur Casciato, director of the university’s Office of Distinguished Fellowships. “He joins students from Ivy League schools such as Harvard, Princeton, and the University of Pennsylvania and Big Ten schools, such as the University of Wisconsin, who are receiving the award this year.”
Casciato notes that Kolchmeyer is the university’s third Churchill Scholar, joining Simon Gordonov in 2010 and John Maffei in 1967.