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 â€œIntroduction to Electricity, Magnetism, and Wavesâ€ in the fall semester of every year are eligible to partake in the exam in January of the following year.
â€œUsually 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,â€ 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.
â€œThis is something to kind of build up some camaraderie because each year we have about 10 or 12 students come and say, â€˜Iâ€™m going to beat you,â€™ in a little bit of a competitive spirit. Itâ€™s a good activity to have that livens things up within the department instead of, â€˜Oh another physics examâ€™; itâ€™s a fun contest with door prizes and the winner gets a cash prize,â€ Hough said.
For his outstanding performance, Farner earned a cash prize of $150.
â€œItâ€™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 Iâ€™ve been learning. Plus, it also looks great on a resume,â€ Farner said.