Daniel Hoak, 2015-2016, Italy, visiting Florence
Fulbrighters achieve remarkable things! Are you following the announcements for this year’s Nobel Prize winners? So far, two Fulbright alumni to France have become 2017 Nobel Laureates, Fulbright U.S. Student alumnus Michael Rosbash and Fulbright U.S. Scholar alumnus Kip S. Thorne, for Physiology or Medicine and Physics, respectively.
Today, we are re-posting an article written in 2016 by Fulbright U.S. Student alumnus to Italy, Daniel Hoak, as he was part of the team of scientists who worked on the the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves – the very project that contributed to Kip S. Thorne becoming one of this year’s Nobel Prize winners for Physics!
The Fulbright Program congratulates Kip S. Thorne and Daniel Hoak for their outstanding and ongoing work in the field of Physics.
Two months ago, physicists around the world were set ‘chirping’ with the announcement that gravitational waves had been detected for the first time. The detection is the culmination of decades of work, and it represents the beginning of a new era in astronomy.
Growing up, I started playing soccer in my neighborhood. We didn’t have proper soccer fields or uniforms, but we enjoyed playing with friends. Since that early beginning, I’ve always enjoyed playing soccer wherever I am. Before becoming a Fulbrighter, I took English classes in the UK, where I played with my classmates. Now, here at the University of Denver, I am the soccer team captain.
Sport is a unique way of connecting with people who have similar interests. I made many friends from different parts of the world including the United States, Brazil, Norway, Nigeria, Iran, Chad, India, and Nepal by playing soccer in Denver. My soccer teammates are special friends to me, with whom I feel we have many things in common. I think soccer is the most common sport in the world and many students love to play it, which makes it a great tool of cultural diplomacy that connects people from different nations and cultures.
My friends here in Denver have taught me that in America, football is not soccer. I think everywhere else in the world, people call it football, but Americans call it soccer. This has not only taught me about American culture but others as well. I always chat with many of my teammates about soccer in their home countries and about other cultural, social, and political topics. They also ask me about the Arab world, and I try to answer any questions they have. On our team, we’re constantly participating in cultural exchange.
Benjamin Simington, 2015-2016, India (left), with several sadhus from different Kabir Panthi monasteries. They visited the famous Mahakaleshwar temple in Ujjain together during the Kumbha Mela pilgrimage.
Memory came to be a major theme of my research, along with my personal experiences with the Fulbright Program in India. My initial research project was titled Mahant with a Message: A Study of Sant Vivek Das Acharya. I wanted to focus on the life, religious activity, and socio-political vision of Sant Vivek Das Acharya, the head of the Kabir Chaura monastery of the Kabir Panth. The Kabir Panth is a monotheistic religious community in India rooted in the teachings of the medieval Indian poet-saint Kabir. The community has an emphasis on ideas of tolerance, personal spiritual practice, and the equality of all human beings.
As I continued with my research, the importance of ideas of memory became more and more salient. I eventually shifted my focus to look at how Kabir is remembered in the Kabir Panth through ritual, the space of the monastery, and through the poetry of Kabir in everyday conversation. The way that Kabir’s poetry functioned as a form of remembrance had great personal significance for me. Studying this facet of memory allowed me to experience the poetry of Kabir in a way that was not simply abstract. I was able to internalize it. Memory remains a vital part of the religious experience of the members of the community.
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Kelvin Chan of Brooklyn, NY received his BA in Biology from the University of Virginia, VA. In 2013-2014, he studied neuronal migration disorders as a Fulbright U.S. Student at the Institute of Molecular Pathology in Vienna.
The Fulbright Program is pleased to announce up to five new awards for U.S. students to Austria: the Fulbright-Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation Awards for full-time research and/or study in fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). These awards are generously funded by the Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation, which works to support cooperation and the transfer of knowledge between Austrian and American universities and academics.
Applications are being accepted now through October 6, 2017. Ph.D. candidates in STEM disciplines and related fields are strongly encouraged to apply. Applications from highly qualified graduate students and recent undergraduates with strong project proposals in relevant fields will also be considered.
The Austrian Fulbright Commission is particularly excited because these are the first awards targeted specifically at students in STEM fields, an area in which Austria is particularly strong. With up to five grants, this new award will give an unprecedented number of U.S. students the opportunity to conduct fully-funded STEM-related research in Austria with the Fulbright Program.
For more information, please visit the Austria country summary for details. Good luck!