By David Brand
Three Cornell undergraduates, all juniors in the College of Arts and Sciences, are winners of the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for science and mathematics.
The students are Joshua Goldman, from South Lake Tahoe, Calif., majoring in physics; Justin Kinney, from Pittsburgh, majoring in physics and mathematics; and Jeffrey M. Vinocur, from Bryn Mawr, Pa., majoring in computer science.
Since 1992, 25 Cornell undergraduates have won Goldwater scholarships. This is the sixth year in a row that the university has had three or more Goldwater winners. The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation was established by act of Congress in 1986 in recognition of the long government service of U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater and to foster and encourage excellence in mathematics, science and engineering. This year, the foundation trustees awarded 302 scholarships, out of 1,164 nominees, to undergraduate sophomores and juniors from every state and Puerto Rico. Of the winners, 25 are mathematics majors, 198 are science majors, 26 are majoring in engineering, six in computer science, and 47 have dual majors. The scholarships cover the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board, up to a maximum of $7,500 a year.
Goldman, a Cornell Presidential Research Scholar, plans to earn his doctorate in physics and then pursue a career in scientific research in either academia or industry. His current research at Cornell, supervised by Robert Thorne, professor of physics, is the investigation of electronic and structural properties of quasi-one-dimensional conductors. He hopes to describe charge-density waves, a phenomenon bearing similarities to superconductivity. He also has worked with simulations and hardware on the CLEO particle detector at Cornell's Wilson Synchrotron Laboratory. His other research at Cornell has involved using ground-penetrating radar for archaeological exploration, including surveys in Mexico, Italy and Honduras.
This is Goldman's fourth semester as a tutor in the physics program at Cornell's Learning Strategies Center. He also performs in the Cornell Percussion Ensemble and plays the piano. He attended South Tahoe High School, where he was a National Merit finalist, an AP National Scholar and a member of the 1998 U.S. Physics Team. "I am grateful to have been afforded such exciting research opportunities at Cornell and to have faculty who are not only open to but very enthusiastic about serious undergraduate involvement in research," said Goldman. Kinney expects to take his Ph.D. in theoretical physics. At Cornell, he has done research in atmospheric science at Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico, which is managed by the university for the National Science Foundation. This summer he will work at Hanford, Wash., on the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory, an international effort to detect gravitational waves. At Cornell's Wilson Lab he has programmed software for the CLEO detector, working with his supervisor, David Cassel, professor of physics. Apart from his research, he takes karate classes and participates in Habitat for Humanity. He graduated from Taylor Allderdice High School in Pittsburgh, where he designed and built robots for a national robotics competition. "I love the physics education I am receiving at Cornell," said Kinney. "The professors are always happy to talk to the students outside of class and help them understand the material on a deeper level."
Vinocur is applying to medical school and, in addition, hopes to earn his master's or doctorate and then pursue a career in research and clinical medicine, making use of his computer science education. At Cornell, he has worked under Gregory Morrisett, assistant professor of computer science, on type-safe programming languages, with the goal of providing a framework for designing crash-proof computers. He also has worked in the Neonatal-Physiology Research Laboratory at the MCP Hahnemann University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, investigating the biochemical mechanisms of injury to the developing brain. He will be presenting an abstract on his research at the Pediatric Academic Societies' 2001 annual meeting in Baltimore later this month. A teaching assistant in the Cornell Department of Computer Science, Vinocur also plays clarinet in the Cornell marching band. He graduated from Haverford High School, where he won the Rensselaer Medal. "My education at Cornell has been nothing but amazing in terms of faculty. I've had several classes from people who are world-renowned in their fields. My first semester here I had Roald Hoffmann, the Nobel laureate, as a professor," Vinocur said of Cornell's Frank H.T. Rhodes Professor in Humane Letters. In 1997, Vinocur and Kinney were among 90 high school students selected for the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Sciences, a summer program at Carnegie-Mellon University. In the last five years, three Goldwater Scholars from Cornell have gone on to win Marshall Scholarships, one has won a Rhodes Scholarship and three have won Churchill Scholarships. Cornell's Goldwater Scholarship endorsement committee this year consisted of Barbara Bedford, a senior researcher in the Department of Natural Resources; David Cassel, professor of physics; and Donald Farley, professor of electrical and computer engineering.