Walborn applied over the internet, and Bonfim interviewed him, emailing the results to the university. Walborn secured his position easily, Bonfim said. Although Bonfim recognizes that learning physics in a foreign language will be challenging, he encourages the approach (although the lectures will be in Portuguese, the textbooks will actually be in English). "I had a similar experience," says Bonfim. "I went to another country to study physics and learn English." He earned his doctorate in physics at Oxford University.
While Walborn will be achieving two goals, studying physics and a language, great surfing waves will be teasing him. The school is inland, about six hours from Rio de Janeiro.
Steve's voice reaches that clear pitch that comes from passion resonating with sound: he is talking about waves again, and a trip he and his father took a few months ago.
"We went to watch big waves break against rocks," says Steve. "That's all we did all day. It was great." Pat Walborn used to surf alongside his son, who was propped on a boogie board. When Steve turned 10, his father gave him a big surfboard.
Pat, his own voice battling the loud drone of Pennsylvania rain, is just as happy to talk about waves. "There are so many forces on the wave," he says from a car phone. "You have to have an appreciation for the ocean and the dynamics of the waves. Steve always had that. And I am sure having a background in physics gives him an appreciation for the natural world."
Kaia Sand is a freelance writer in Portland. This is her first article for Reed.