UW-Madison student wins $250,000 fellowship

April 5, 2010

by David Tenenbaum

Daniel Lecoanet, who will graduate with comprehensive honors from University of Wisconsin-Madison this spring with a double major in math and physics, has won a five-year, no-strings-attached fellowship to pursue graduate studies.

The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation in Livermore, Calif., has announced that Lecoanet was one of 15 winners in this year's competition, chosen from almost 600 applicants.

Lecoanet, who worked on the internal dynamics of stars at UW-Madison, says he intends to pursue theoretical physics in grad school.

"In theoretical physics, you have the opportunity to understand the essence of what's going on. There is this process of distilling a lot of experimental information into one clean idea," he says.

Valued at more than $250,000, Hertz Fellowships allow exceptional applied scientists and engineers the freedom to innovate.

"By supporting uniquely talented young leaders in the applied sciences and engineering to develop and explore their genius, the Hertz Foundation promotes innovative solutions to emerging challenges our nation and world face today," says foundation president Jay Davis.

Lecoanet grew up in Madison and attended James Madison Memorial High School.

Lecoanet is now sizing up graduate programs, but his first stop after Madison will be Cambridge, England, where he will study applied mathematics on a Churchill Scholarship. He was one of only 14 Americans to receive the award, and the first UW-Madison student in 30 years.