Reed senior wins prestigious Churchill Scholarship

Andrew Essin, a senior physics major from Monrovia, California, has won a prestigious Churchill Scholarship. The scholarship will fund one year of tuition and living expenses in Churchill College at England’s Cambridge University, where Essin plans to study in the department of applied mathematics and physics. Essin is the second Reed student to win a Churchill Scholarship, the first being Mimi Cutler Willard ’76.

Andrew EssinChurchill Scholarships are awarded by the Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States to students of exceptional ability who show capacity for original, creative work as well as character, adaptability, demonstrated leadership, and concern for the critical problems of society. Essin was recognized for both his outstanding aca-demic achievements and his commitment to volunteering for numerous organizations in Portland, where his activities have included building houses for lower-income families and helping to restore city parks.

Essin is writing a senior thesis in theoretical physics based in quantum mechanics, advised by physicist David Griffiths. “Every few years one encounters a student who is so outstanding, so strikingly superior, that it is almost impossible to provide a reliable evaluation,” wrote Griffiths in a letter of recommendation for Essin. “Frankly I don’t think the courses Andrew has taken at Reed come close to testing the limits of his ability.”

Essin has served in two summer internships funded by the National Science Foundation. Between his junior and senior year he worked at CERN, the premier European research facility for elementary particle physics, in Switzerland, where he did an independent study in quantum field theory with noted Italian physicist Guido Altarelli. After his first year at Reed he worked at SRI International, a nonprofit research institute in Menlo Park, California, with an atmospheric chemist on uptake of atmospheric methanol. Essin enjoyed the experience of being in a community of physicists abroad at CERN, and this inspired him to apply for the Churchill scholarship. After his year in England he plans to attend the University of California–Berkeley, where he will continue his studies in theoretical physics. He hopes to eventually teach in a college setting after he earns a graduate degree.

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Reed Magazine February 2003
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