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Princeton University Student Wins National Physics Fellowship Competition

Joseph Scherrer
Joseph Scherrer

Princeton University senior Joseph Scherrer is one of 12 college seniors and first-year graduate students nationwide to be named a 2016 Hertz Fellow by the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation.

The fellows, who were selected from more than 800 applicants, will receive a stipend and full tuition support valued at $250,000 for up to five years of graduate study in the applied physical, biological and engineering sciences.

Scherrer will begin pursuing a Ph.D. in physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2017 after spending a year in Germany as a Fulbright Fellow. He plans to pursue a research career in biophysics.

In high school, Scherrer constructed a particle accelerator in his backyard shed that allowed him to produce X-ray photographs. As a Princeton sophomore, he built an acoustic device that levitates styrofoam balls in midair, and as a junior he started constructing a Farnsworth fusion reactor to demonstrate deuterium-deuterium fusion for neutron-activation experiments.

As an undergraduate researcher at Princeton, Scherrer has worked on several projects with faculty members. He is also a co-author on two patents for microfluidic valves and pumps he helped develop in 2012 as a summer researcher at Vanderbilt University.

Scherrer received Princeton’s Kusaka Memorial Prize in Physics in 2015 for outstanding academic and research performance. He has served as a physics tutor at Princeton. He partnered with the engineering school to found the Makers’ Collective and a workshop called the Makelab for students with a passion for building and inventing. He also founded the “Cheese and Bad Movies Club,” where students eat gourmet cheese while watching movies that are “so bad, they’re good.”

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

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