Lerman among Illinois students honored with Goldwater scholarships

Ariel Lerman | photo by Ruth Kantorovitz

Four University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign students, including Department of Mathematics sophomore Ariel Lerman, were awarded Barry M. Goldwater scholarships for their potential to contribute to the advancement of research in the natural sciences, mathematics or engineering.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Goldwater, who served 30 years in the U.S. Senate. The program encourages the continued development of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers by awarding scholarships to college sophomores and juniors from the U.S. who intend to pursue doctorates. The scholarship provides recipients $7,500 annually toward undergraduate tuition, fees, books or room and board.

This year’s 410 scholars were selected from among the 1,256 mathematics, science and engineering students nominated by colleges and universities nationwide. “All four of our campus nominees were selected, which places the University of Illinois in a select group,” said David Schug, the director of the National and International Scholarships Program at Illinois. “Less than 20 institutions in the country garnered such success among their endorsed candidates. Further, it’s telling that our diverse recipients hail from the colleges of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences; Engineering; and Liberal Arts and Sciences.”

Lerman, a sophomore from Urbana, began taking upper-level mathematics courses and physics at the University of Illinois while in high school. He has since finished the undergraduate course requirements for mathematics majors, completed four graduate-level mathematics courses and is currently enrolled in three additional graduate classes this semester. Simultaneously, Lerman has conducted research with Vadim Zharnitsky, a professor of mathematics, on the dynamics of billiards, and with Jorge Noronha, an associate professor of nuclear physics, on nonrelativistic fluid dynamics.

Lerman’s work has resulted in multiple presentations, including an upcoming presentation at the American Physical Society, as well as a submitted first-author publication to a national mathematics journal. At Illinois, Lerman earned the 2020 Elsie Thomas Fraser Award as the top freshman or sophomore in his department, and the 2021 Salma Wanna Memorial Award for exceptional performance in mathematics. Lerman plans to conduct research in dynamical systems and partial differential equations, and their applications in physics.

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David Schug | Public Affairs News Bureau



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