Yale Student Awarded 2008 Gertrude Scharff-Goldhaber Prize

UPTON, NY — Christine Nattrass, a graduate student at Yale University who expects to graduate with a Ph.D. in physics in May 2009, has been awarded the 2008 Gertrude Scharff-Goldhaber Prize, consisting of a framed certificate and $1,000. The U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory established the award to recognize substantial promise and accomplishment by women graduate students in physics who are performing their thesis research at Brookhaven Lab, or who are enrolled at Stony Brook University.

Christine Nattrass enlarge

Goldhaber Prize winner Christine Nattrass (third from left) is surrounded by her thesis advisor, John Harris, Yale University, and members of the Brookhaven Women in Science scholarship committee: (from left): Aimee Sumereau, Pat Williams, Vinita Ghosh, and Loralie Smart. (Click on the image to download a high-resolution version.)

Administered by Brookhaven Women in Science (BWIS), a nonprofit organization that supports and encourages the advancement of women in science, the prize honors the outstanding contributions of the late nuclear physicist Gertrude Scharff-Goldhaber. In 1950, she became the first woman Ph.D. physicist appointed to the Brookhaven Lab staff. She also was a founding member of BWIS.

Nattrass earned a B.S. in physics from Colorado State University in 2003 and enrolled at Yale for graduate studies in the same year. She is currently performing her thesis work at Brookhaven's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, where physicists have discovered a "perfect" liquid, which many describe as quark-gluon plasma, a form of matter that is thought to have existed ten-millionths of a second after the Big Bang. At the award ceremony, Nattrass gave a brief talk about her research, titled, "Jets as a Probe of Quark-Gluon Plasma." Nattrass hopes to pursue a career in academia.

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