The Department of Physics seeks to establish a fund for an award to be given to the best undergradate honor's thesis of a given academic year.
The award will be named in honor of Daphne Y. Chang (Trinity 2005), a Duke Physics Major, who passed away on December 21st 2009 at the age of 26 after battling a never fully diagnosed disease. Daphne is remembered by the Duke Physics Community as an extraordinary person: in her Sophomore year she joined the Nuclear Theory Group as an independent study student. Her subsequent research under the supervision of Prof. Steffen A. Bass on the production of strange quarks in relativistic heavy-ion collisions led to her giving talks and showing posters at several national and international conferences as well as publishing her results as a letter in the Journal of Physics G: Nuclear and Particle Physics. Daphne defended her Honor's Thesis at the end of her Junior year and subsequently went on to work as a TA for the introductory quantum mechanics course and as an administrative assistant at TUNL until her graduation (a semester early).
Daphne was accepted into many top Physics graduate programs in the country, including MIT, Columbia, Yale, Stanford and Caltech. She went to Caltech pursuing a Ph.D. in the Space Astrophysics Lab under Prof. Chris Martin. Daphne was not only a brilliant young physicist, but also a very warm and compassionate person with a broad range of interests outside of Physics who brought a lot of lighthearted fun to the Departmental social scenes.
Daphne's accomplishments in udergraduate research serve as great example on the opportunities available to aspiring physics majors. The Physics Department wishes to encourage undergraduate research and reward stellar achievements in this area - thus the creation of the Daphne Chang Memorial Award.