The Department of Physics awards annually the Daphne Chang Memorial Award to honor students who excel in undergraduate research in the department. The award is 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's accomplishments in undergraduate research serve as a prime example of what enterprising students may accomplish as Physics majors. 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 undergraduate 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.
The call for nomination is announced once a year, towards the middle of the spring semester. The winner will be announced prior to the end of the semester. The awardee will be given a certificate together with a $1000 award.
Awardees of the Daphne Chang Memorial Award:
- 2010 Alexander Naip Tuna (Trinity 2010)
- 2011 Siyuan Sun (Trinity 2011)
- 2012 Vivek Bhattacharya (Trinity 2012)
and Travis Byington (Trinity 2012)
- 2013 Zongjin Qian (Trinity 2013)
and William DeClemente (Trinity 2013)
- 2014 Jack Matteucci (Trinity 2014)
- 2015 Melody Lim (Trinity 2016)
- 2016 Katrina Miller (Trinity 2016)
- 2017 Tianji Cai (Trinity 2017)