Headshot of Douglas White

Douglas White

A student in the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s Honors College has been chosen as among the best in the country.

Douglas White received an Honorable Mention from the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, which provides scholarships to sophomores and juniors pursuing careers in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering.

White, 20, is a junior double majoring in Mathematical Sciences and Physics with the ultimate goal of earning a Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics.

He knew he’d been nominated and, though he says he “actually wasn’t expecting anything” to come from it, when he received the email this week telling him that he’d been picked for an Honorable Mention — which isn’t eligible for a scholarship — his reaction was a bit different.

“I was somewhat disappointed, to be honest, because I didn’t get any money,” he says. “But I’m certainly glad that they nominated me.”

He was chosen from a field of 1,286 nominees nominated by 2,000 colleges and universities nationwide, including such well-known institutions as Harvard, Princeton and Stanford. A total of 240 students were given one- or two-year scholarships to cover the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to $7,500 per year.

In addition to the scholarship recipients, 307 nominees received Honorable Mentions.

As part of the nomination process, White says he had to write an essay that “would display how you think like a scientist.”

His essay detailed his steps in calculating the rate that a liquid would drain from a container with a hole drilled in the bottom. The rate depends on the height and shape of the container, the type of liquid and its level inside the container and the size of the hole, he explains.

He eventually came up with a mathematical formula to design containers that drain at whatever rate is selected. For example, if the draining rate is set at 0.001 seconds, a container can be designed to hit that mark, he says.


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