Senior Nancy Paul has been selected to receive a 2012 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Fellowship. Paul, who is also a member of the Glynn Family Honors Program for the Arts and Sciences, will earn her Bachelor of Science in Physics with a concentration in Advanced Physics in May. She has taken advantage of numerous research opportunities throughout her undergraduate career and currently serves at the Editor-in-Chief of Scientia, Notre Dame’s undergraduate journal of scientific research.
Paul will remain at the University of Notre Dame for her graduate studies. Her area of research will focus on low-energy nuclear structure and its impact on astrophysical processes, such as heavy-element nucleosynthesis. The origin of the heavy elements has been cited by the National Research Council as one of the greatest unanswered questions in physics, and her group will seek to untangle the nuclear physics behind the r-process that is thought to be responsible for approximately 50% of the elements in the universe heavier than iron.
The NSF GRFP was created to enhance the scientific and engineering workforce of the United States. The fellowship provides three years of support for the graduate education of students who have demonstrated the potential for significant achievements in science and engineering research. Past NSF Fellows include individuals who have made significant breakthroughs in science and engineering research, as well as some who have been honored as Nobel Laureates.