Student wins cash prize for exam performance

William Farner from Victoria, Minnesota won the 39th Garnett G. Gray General Physics Prize, an award for first years who achieve the highest score on a competitive physics exam.

Farner intends to major in physics and was awarded the SEMMES science scholarship for his entire time at Trinity.

The prize is awarded by the results of a 100 multiple-choice question physics exam covering basic first-year physics principles.

All students taking “Introduction to Electricity, Magnetism, and Waves” in the fall semester of every year are eligible to partake in the exam in January of the following year.

“Usually the students are physics or engineering majors, or double majors, and a lot of these students end up doing extremely well in our major. They get a $150 cash prize as well as their name placed on a plaque in perpetuity,” said David Hough, professor and chair of physics and astronomy.

After the death of long-time member of the physics department, Garnett G. Gray, in 1974, donations were made to a memorial fund to benefit Trinity students.

Since professor Gray took special interest in introductory physics courses and laboratories, the award is intended for first-year physics students.

“This is something to kind of build up some camaraderie because each year we have about 10 or 12 students come and say, “˜I’m going to beat you,’ in a little bit of a competitive spirit. It’s a good activity to have that livens things up within the department instead of, “˜Oh another physics exam’; it’s a fun contest with door prizes and the winner gets a cash prize,” Hough said.

For his outstanding performance, Farner earned a cash prize of $150.

“It’s an indication that clearly I understood everything that was going on last semester in my class so it makes me feel good that I have a solid grasp of not just plugging numbers into equations but actual concepts behind the physics that I’ve been learning. Plus, it also looks great on a resume,” Farner said.