2008 John Mather Nobel Scholars

On 2008 July 16, five summer interns at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland were awarded John Mather Nobel Scholarships by The Henry Foundation, Inc.

The funding for the scholarships originated in a generous contribution from the John and Jane Mather Foundation for Science and the Arts, which in turn was funded from the award of the 2006 Nobel Prize for Physics to Dr. Mather.

The awardees were selected by a committee of Directors and former Directors of NASA Space Grant College and Fellowship Program state Space Grant consortia.

The award consists in the designation “John Mather Nobel Scholar 2008,” plus a $3000 scientific travel grant over a two year period.

The first John Mather Nobel Scholars are:

Erin Marie Hammons, a rising Senior at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, who is a Systems Engineering intern for the ExPRESS Logistics Carrier (ELC) at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Erin says “working at NASA has been my career goal since I was very young. Upon completion of my degree in August of 2009, I plan to seek employment with NASA, either here at Goddard or at one of the many other centers across the country.”

Howard Hui, a rising Senior at Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, who at Goddard Space Flight Center this summer is working on developing new instruments to measure the polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background. (It was for his critical discoveries concerning that same background radiation that Dr. Mather was awarded his Nobel Prize for Physics.) Howard says “NASA helped me to determine much more than just my future career plan. Working with my NASA mentors, I was able to see the life of a brilliant NASA scientist. I recognized that this life is exactly what I want.”

Pratik Davé, a rising Senior at the University of Maryland College Park, who is working with NASA contractor Honeywell Aerospace to design and develop a software tool to predict solar weather events hazardous to NASA missions, and send threat assessment messages to satellite ground operators. Pratik says, “after some time working and finding what it is that I would like to specialize in, I plan to return to education and receive a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering––part-time, of course, while continuing to work for NASA.”

Victoria Martin, a rising Senior at the University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida, who is working at Goddard Space Flight Center on instrumentation to find B-mode polarization in the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation, which would be critical evidence for inflation in the early universe. Victoria says, “returning to Goddard I have used my past experience to rise to a whole new level, executing self-contained projects from start to finish. During a lecture to us summer interns, Dr. Mather gave us a general challenge to become the second Goddard employee to earn the Nobel Prize in Physics. I heartily accept that challenge.”

Lisha Roubert, a rising Senior at the University of Puerto Rico, Cauyey Campus, who is working in Earth Science projects at Goddard Space Flight Center. Lisha says, “having the opportunity to intern at Goddard has opened my eyes to the world of NASA. I have always aspired to become a NASA scientist, and I would be honored to have the opportunity to work among the most brilliant scientists in the world for the rest of my life.”