Campus & Community

Seven to receive first Smith Awards

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The first Herchel Smith Harvard Undergraduate Research Fellowships have been granted to seven Harvard College students who will use the awards to support scientific research conducted around the world this summer.

This inaugural distribution of Herchel Smith Fellowships is made possible through the generosity of the late Herchel Smith, a distinguished chemist and philanthropist whose support of Harvard totaled roughly $100 million. The fellowships, which sponsor Harvard undergraduates who wish to pursue personally significant research experiences during a break or leave of absence from the University, grow out a bequest following Smith’s death in 2001.

Intended to prepare recipients for graduate study in the sciences, the Herchel Smith Fellowships support students wishing to conduct research in computer science, mathematics, the natural sciences, and the physical sciences at established research centers. The awards are targeted at, but not limited to, freshmen and sophomores for whom exposure to research and exploration of scientific environments would be a formative experience early in their academic careers.

This year’s recipients of Herchel Smith Fellowships follow:

Christopher Doucette ’06 will conduct research through the summer and into the fall semester in the laboratory of Eric Shoubridge at the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University. Shoubridge and his colleagues study mitochondrial genetic disorders; Doucette will research enzymes involved in energy production in cells.

Patrick Mauro ’07 will work with Gu-Yeon Wei, assistant professor of electrical engineering on the Gordon McKay Endowment at Harvard. Mauro will conduct research concerning power leakage in computer memory and the plausibility of using capacitors in computer memory modules for better power efficiency.

Stefan Patrikis ’06 will be working with William Stein, Benjamin Peirce Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Harvard, on a project in computational arithmetic geometry. Their primary goal will be to verify the full Birch Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture for elliptical curves in a few special cases by studying the order of the Tate-Shafarevich group of an elliptical curve.

Weerawat Runguphan ’06 will do research at the Office of Atoms for Peace in Thailand’s Bureau of Radiation Safety Regulation. The primary focus of his research will be radiation measurement and radioactive contamination.

Hasuk Francis Song ’06 will work at the Laboratoire Ondes et Acoustique in Paris. He will assist in studies of sonoluminescence, a phenomenon in which gas bubbles trapped in acoustical fields generate flashes of light. Song’s physics research will focus on increasing observed temperature during sonoluminescence.

Limor Spector ’07 plans to work this summer at CERN, the world’s largest particle physics research center, in Geneva. Working with Gerald Gabrielse, George Vasmer Leverett Professor of Physics at Harvard, Spector will help develop the next generation of devices to trap, characterize, and produce antihydrogen.

Inna Zakharevich ’06 will conduct research with Gunnar Carlsson at Stanford University. Zakharevich will be studying topological methods in data analysis, as well as experimenting with software developed by Carlsson to find shape statistics in images.

Sixty-four Harvard students applied this year for Herchel Smith Fellowships. The program is eventually expected to support 25-30 students each year.

Smith’s other support of Harvard includes the Herchel Smith Harvard Scholarship, established in 1985, which encourages Harvard graduates to study for doctoral degrees in science or mathematics at Cambridge University, and endowed FAS professorships in molecular biology, pure mathematics, physics, and computer science.