Home » Physics undergraduate student awarded the William Oegerle Scholarship in Physics and Astronomy

Physics undergraduate student awarded the William Oegerle Scholarship in Physics and Astronomy

Photo of Nhat Huy Tran, award recipient

The William Oegerle Scholarship in Physics and Astronomy is named after UF alumnus Dr. William Oegerle. The fund provides support for undergraduate students who show exceptional promise in conducting research in physics and/or astronomy. The awardee carries out a research project under the guidance of a faculty member in the Department of Physics or Astronomy.  Support can include tuition, books, computers, and travel to professional meetings to present research findings.

Two undergraduate students were awarded the 2023–2024 William Oegerle Scholarship in Physics and Astronomy: Dana Yaptangco is working with Dr. Sarah Ballard in Astronomy, and Nhat Huy Tran is working with Dr. Chunjing Jia in Physics.

Huy’s project with Dr. Jia will combine xray diffraction data with machine learning techniques to predict crystal structures for double perovskite materials. Perovskites are novel materials with many potential applications in photovoltaics and optical devices. Double perovskites are a special class with potential value for spintronics and electronic devices. Huy and Dr. Jia will train a neural network to take experimental xray diffraction data for perovskites and generate a 2D crystal graph of the material structure, leading to a real crystal structure. They hope that their approach can outperform traditional methods for obtaining crystal structure from xray data.

This scholarship was created by UF alumnus Dr. William Oegerle, who graduated from UF in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science in Physics and received his Ph.D. in 1977 from the University of Massachusetts. Dr. Oegerle was a Director with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. He worked on the Hubble Space Telescope and in 2016 was awarded the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the top honor NASA can bestow on a civilian.

Congratulations to Dana and Huy on this well deserved honor!

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