Aaron Mertz (Graduate Student) has been selected to receive the 2012 D. Allan Bromley Graduate Fellowship in Physics (described below). Aaron’s Ph.D. research is at the intersection of physics and biology and concerns emergent mechanical properties in multicellular systems, using tools of physics, mathematics, engineering, and molecular cell biology to understand how cells adhere to each other and build tissues. He has a keen interest science outreach and, as an undergraduate at Washington University in St. Louis, spearheaded a number of initiatives to promote science research and education to diverse groups of students and the public. He was awarded his university’s Senior Physics Prize, a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, and an Astronaut Scholarship and was selected to speak at his commencement ceremony and serve on the university’s Board of Trustees. He received a Rhodes Scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in the history of science, medicine, and technology at the University of Oxford, where he wrote his thesis on the public understanding of science in the 20th century. At Yale, he holds a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and was honored by the graduate school with a Prize Teaching Fellowship for his teaching of physics laboratory classes. Outside science, he is a cellist and avid chamber musician.
The D. Allan Bromley Fellowship Fund for Graduate Research in Physics was established in 2005 to honor Professor D. Allan Bromley, Sterling Professor of the Sciences at Yale University and former Presidential Science Advisor to President George H. W. Bush. The Fellowship was created by Prof. Bromley’s former students Joel Birnbaum (Yale Physics PhD ‘65), Joe Allen (Yale Physics PhD ‘65), and John Manoyan (Yale Physics PhD ‘87), because of their “deep affection and respect for” Prof. Bromley, in order to “memorialize his exceptional teaching and research career at Yale.”
The Fellowship is awarded annually to graduate students in Physics who have advanced to candidacy in the Ph.D. program, particularly those “who exhibit a broader interest than just physics, including, but not limited to, science and public policy, engineering, and applied science.” Candidates are nominated by the Physics faculty and selected by the D. Allan Bromley Professor of Physics (currently Rick Casten) and the Director of Graduate Studies (currently Paul Tipton). The indenture goes on to say, “In this way, the recipients will reflect and celebrate Dr. Bromley’s distinguished and honorable persona in the exceptional scope, standing, talent, and character of his distinguished personal, public, and academic life.”