Eric Chen ’14 and Daniel Kriz ’14, two juniors in the math department, are among the 271 winners nationwide of the 2013 Goldwater Scholarship, through which they hope to pursue Ph.D.’s in mathematics.
The Goldwater Scholars are selected for their academic merit in mathematics, science and engineering. According to the Goldwater Scholarship press release, for the 2013-14 academic year awards, 271 of the 1,107 undergraduate sophomores and juniors who were nominated by their schools received scholarships. These one- and two-year awards will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.
Kriz said that he was encouraged to apply for the scholarship by his residential college dean, who contacted him because of his grade point average. A committee of Princeton faculty members chose four nominees for the scholarship from all the applicants and Kriz was among what he called the “lucky” four.
This past summer, Kriz participated in the Duluth Summer Mathematics Research Experience for Undergraduates Program, where he worked to understand factorizations approaches using additive number theory and explored the behavior of these factorizations. Kriz said he is intrigued by number theory because many mathematical problems are motivated by the basic properties of integers.
Kriz is currently doing research with mathematics professor Chris Skinner; he said his goal is to become a math professor. He explained that his interest in mathematical research and his passion for the field are what contribute most to his desire to continue with math and enter academia.
“Undertaking what is essentially graduate work as a third year undergraduate has been highly rewarding and has greatly increased my technical knowledge,” Kriz said in an essay he submitted for the Goldwater.
Chen, also a math major, was the other recipient of the scholarship from the University.
Chen is currently writing his junior paper on the cubic nonlinear Schrodinger equation under the supervision of mathematics professor Alexandru Ionescu.
Chen said that his passion for mathematics extends back to his elementary school days. He explained that he has really enjoyed the quality of math classes at the University, one of his favorites being Professor Peter Sarnak’s MAT 215: Analysis in a Single Variable.
Over the summer, Chen also participated in an REU program at the University of Minnesota’s School of Mathematics. In his work at Minnesota, Chen collaborated with fellow student Dennis Tseng to prove Ghorpade and Ram’s recent “Splitting Subspace Conjecture.”
Chen indicated that he hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics and also plans to enter academia later in life.
In the past, Goldwater Scholarship recipients have also gone on to receive post-graduate fellowships, such as Rhodes Scholarships, Marshall Scholarships and Churchill Scholarships.