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Physics Alumnus Andrew Laeuger Receives Hertz Fellowship

May 31, 2024

Theoretical physicist and Northwestern University Physics and Astronomy alumnus Andrew Laeuger ’23 has been named a 2024 Hertz Fellow by the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation.laeuger970__fitmaxwzk3mcw2ntbd.jpg

Laeuger, now at the California Institute of Technology, is one of 18 students to receive the Hertz Fellowship this year in applied science, engineering and mathematics. Recipients must display high academic achievement and the capacity to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in their field. The fellowship includes up to five years of funding, valued at up to $250,000, and the freedom to pursue innovative projects wherever they may lead.

“I am honored to be joining this extraordinary community of esteemed and talented scientific minds and am beyond grateful for all the teachers, professors and mentors who shaped me into the researcher I am today,” said Laeuger, a Milwaukee native who plans to pursue a career as a gravitational wave physicist. “I’m confident that this opportunity to engage in research topics I am personally excited about during my graduate education will make my path to a Ph.D. and beyond more complete and fulfilling.”

Laeuger graduated from Northwestern with triple majors in physics, mathematics and the Integrated Science Program in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. He earned a Barry Goldwater Scholarship when a sophomore. As an undergraduate, Laeuger contributed to the development of a novel high-frequency gravitational wave detector based on levitated nanoparticle technology, which will hunt for ripples in the fabric of spacetime produced by hypothesized dark matter candidates.

At Caltech, Laeuger is a doctoral student in physics. He aims to predict the gravitational signatures of undiscovered physics. Such predictions will enable future searches for those phenomena in gravitational wave observations; if detected, an awareness of the underlying physics could open an entire new realm of technological possibilities.

Since 1963, the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation, one of the nation’s leading nonprofit organizations, has provided the nation’s most generous Ph.D. fellowships to more than 1,300 gifted applied scientists and engineers.

The selective and prestigious Hertz Fellowship has been received by five Northwestern students in the past, and six current Northwestern faculty were supported as Hertz Fellows during their graduate school.

*Text taken from Northwestern Now article by Megan Fellman*