Physics major Patrick Park ’22 is licensed to operate Reed's nuclear reactor.
Physics major Patrick Park ’22 is licensed to operate Reed's nuclear reactor.

Physics Junior Wins Goldwater Scholarship

Patrick Park ’22 earns national recognition for exceptional promise in physics.

By Dashiell Allen ’21 | April 29, 2021

Congratulations to Patrick Park ’22 for being named a Goldwater Scholar for demonstrating exceptional promise, intellectual intensity, and a commitment to research in the field of nuclear physics.

“He is, in a word, awesome,” says advisor and mentor Prof. Alison Crocker [physics]. “The Goldwater Scholarship is a deserved recognition of Patrick's extremely strong commitment to a research career.

Originally from Irvine, California, Patrick always knew that he wanted to major in physics. But it wasn’t until he stumbled upon a lecture about Reed’s nuclear reactor in his freshman year that he discovered his passion for nuclear science. He became a licensed reactor operator in 2019 and has since obtained a license and training in Monte-Carlo transport code at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Patrick plans to write his thesis about computational neutronics. “It’s kind of like when you calculate a car’s miles per gallon and maximum speed, but for a reactor,” he explains. The thesis will be a first—no Reed student has ever made these calculations before. After Reed, he hopes to pursue a PhD in science policy. “Nuclear science, primarily as an energy source, but also as a research tool, has a lot of potential,” he says.

Patrick is grateful to Prof. Crocker for encouraging him to apply for the Goldwater Scholarship, and to the Center For Life Beyond Reed for many incredible funding opportunities.

Founded in 1989, the Goldwater Scholarship covers the cost of tuition for a select group of undergraduates who display exceptional promise, “intellectual intensity in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering,” and a strong commitment to a career in research.


Tags: Academics, Awards & Achievements, Research, Students