MIT graduate Priyamvada Natarajan has won the 1993 Isaac Newton Studentship from the University of Cambridge, which will cover her tuition and expenses at Cambridge for two years as she pursues a PhD in theoretical astrophysics. (She will only need two years to complete the PhD because she has already taken all the courses required.)
Ms. Natarajan, who has MIT degrees in physics (SB, 1990; SM, 1991) and mathematics (SB, 1991), plans to return to MIT when she finishes her work at Cambridge to complete a second PhD through the Program in Science, Technology and Society (STS).
That PhD, for which she has also completed the course work, will be in the humanities-specifically, the history and philosophy of modern physics. "I think that a humanities graduate education will help me bring more perspective to my research work in general," Ms. Natarajan said.
Ms. Natarajan, who began her studies at Cambridge this fall, says her advisors at MIT have been invaluable. "They gave me the latitude for finding what I wanted to do, and respected my decisions," she said. Those people include Alan Guth, Weisskopf Professor of Physics and Ms. Natarajan's undergraduate thesis advisor ("he's my mentor at large," she said), and Professor Evelyn Fox Keller, her advisor at STS. In addition, she said, Professor Merritt Roe Smith, director of STS, "has been very supportive of all my various interests."
A version of this article appeared in the December 1, 1993 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 38, Number 16).