William Smith Sophomore Wins Fifth Annual Albert Holland Prize Competition – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

William Smith Sophomore Wins Fifth Annual Albert Holland Prize Competition

Nine students from all class years gave public presentations on a known result in physics for the annual Albert Holland Prize, a competition to further the art of physics discourse.

April 18, 2002 GENEVA, N.Y.—The fifth annual Albert Holland Prize competition was held April 15. Endowed by Allan Russell, professor emeritus of physics, the prize is awarded annually to the winner of a competition for the best public presentation in physics by a student of Hobart or William Smith. Contestants presented a short talk, no longer than 15 minutes, on a standard result in physics. Students were judged on the quality of their scientific content and the quality of their rhetorical skill. The winner received a $500 prize.

Nine students competed for this year's prize. They ranged from first-year students to seniors, and represented a variety of majors, including physics, chemistry, biochemistry, math, and computer science. The winner was Julia James ’04, whose presentation was on “Physics and Ballerinas.”

James, of Brooklyn, has recently been awarded a scholarship from the American Chemical Society based in Washington, D.C. This summer, James is working at Hobart and William Smith on an AIDS research project titled “Conformational Searching of Protease Inhibitors,” after having received a grant from the Jessie B. Coxe Undergraduate Research Program. James is a leader of the HWS chapter of the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and has volunteered at the Center of Concern in Geneva.

The other contestants, alphabetically, were:
• Maranda Bliss, a junior chemistry major from Westport, Mass., who spoke on “Simple Harmonic Motion.”
• Sean Hillson, a sophomore chemistry and physics major from New City, N.Y., who spoke on “Quantum Behavior of Electrons in Pericylic Reactions.”
• Derrick Moore, a first-year physics and mathematics major from Deerfield, N.Y., who gave “A Derivative of the Period of the Pendulum.”
• Carl Morgan, a junior computer science major from Houston, Texas, who gave “La Résistance: An Everyday Approach to Lighting.”
• David Niedzwiecki, a first-year physics major from Irvington, N.Y., who presented “Falling Through the Earth.”
• John Stevens, a senior biochemistry major from Paoli, Pa., who presented “Bernoulli and his Profound Engagement With the Universe.”
• Scott Thoms, a first-year physics and engineering major from Chatham, Mass., who offered “A Derivation of the Wave Equation.”
• Evan Wendel, a sophomore physics major from Honeoye, N.Y., who offered “Goodbye UV Catastrophe, Hello Max Planck.”

The Albert Holland Prize is always judged by three faculty members—one from the physics department, one from the English department, and one from another department. This year, Renee Monson, assistant professor of sociology; Don Spector, professor of physics; and David Weiss, professor of English, were the judges. The competition is modeled on a piano competition, in which pianists are judged on the quality of their performances of pieces from the repertoire.

Albert Edward Holland, for whom the prize is named, was president of the Colleges from 1966 to 1968. He was known for his vision, honesty, and integrity, and his remarkable skills in public presentation. He received a letter of commendation from the U.S. government for employing those skills in helping to save those imprisoned with him in a Japanese prison camp in the Philippines during World War II. While president of the Colleges he was responsible for the establishment of Geneva Scholars Associates, which provides scholarship aid to students from the Geneva area.

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