WASHINGTON, March 1, 2023 – AIP is seeking applications for the 2023 Robert H.G. Helleman Memorial Fellowships, which will support Dutch graduate students and postdoctoral researchers as they pursue research in physics and its related subdisciplines in the U.S.
Applications for the 2023 fellowships are underway and due March 15. AIP and its Center for History of Physics will select the fellows in May. For information about eligibility, application, and criteria, visit the AIP Robert H.G. Helleman Memorial Fellowships website.
A physicist specializing in nonlinear dynamics and chaos, Robert H.G. Helleman died at the age of 76 in 2017 and bequeathed the funds for these fellowships to AIP in his will. Born in Dordrecht, Netherlands, Helleman earned his doctorate degree in statistical mechanics from the University of Utrecht before obtaining and retiring from a professor position at the University of Houston.
In 2022, AIP’s Center for History of Physics selected Michiel Bron as a recipient of the Robert H.G. Helleman Memorial Graduate Research Fellowship.
Bron, a doctoral candidate at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, focuses on the involvement of oil actors in the development of nuclear energy. During his fellowship from September to October 2022, he investigated the spillovers between early U.S. geo- and nuclear science and the oil sector.
“Since the beginning of the 20th century, the oil industry played a big, but understudied, role in the development of atomic physics and the exploration for radioactive minerals,” said Bron. “My thesis studies how this connection emerged, why the oil industry then became increasingly involved in building the nuclear industry from the Second World War onward, and why many oil companies stopped their involvement in nuclear energy in the 1980s.”
The fellowship allowed Bron to visit various archives of oil companies and scientists who had worked as consultants to the oil and nuclear industry on the U.S. East Coast. He conducted archival research at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, the Library of Congress, Amherst College, Cornell University, and the Heinz History Center.
“I am honored and thankful to have received the Robert H.G. Helleman Graduate Research Fellowship,” said Bron. “It allowed me to include several case studies that turned out to be pivotal stories for my dissertation.”
The mission of AIP (American Institute of Physics) is to advance, promote, and serve the physical sciences for the benefit of humanity. AIP is a federation that advances the success of our 10 Member Societies and an institute that operates as a center of excellence supporting the physical sciences enterprise. In its role as an institute, AIP uses policy analysis, social science, and historical research to promote future progress in the physical sciences. AIP is a 501(c)(3) membership corporation of scientific societies.