David Collins '06 Wins Goldwater Scholarship
David Collins, a senior philosophy/mathematics major at Occidental College, has been awarded a prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship.
The award allots up to $7,500 to incoming seniors and is given to students intending to pursue careers in math, science, and engineering fields.
Collins, of Bakersfield, is among 320 Goldwater Scholarship winners from across the United States. He was selected from a field of nearly 1,100 applicants. The award will help cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board. Collins is joined in the honor by Occidental sophomore biochemistry major Katharine Hagen of River Falls, Wisc. The pair are the 22nd and 23rd Occidental students to win a Goldwater Scholarship since 1990.
“Winning a national award like the Goldwater is of course a very great honor for me,” Collins said. “Not many Goldwaters are awarded to researchers in pure mathematics, and I am excited to be one of them.”
Collins’ current research lies in a branch of mathematics known as combinatorial game theory. Combinatorial games are simple contests, such as Tic-Tac-Toe, played between two players. Mathematicians analyzing a competition attempt to find – given any position in the game – which player will win and how, provided both players are competing as their highest potential. Findings lead to a winning strategy. Collins’ development of a winning strategy for the number game Euclid was published in INTEGERS, the Electronic Journal of Combinatorial Number Theory.
Collins plans to teach mathematics at the college or university level, where he can continue his research. In addition to the Goldwater Scholarship, he won the Benedict J. Freedman Prize for Mathematical Promise in 2004, an award presented by the Occidental College math department.
The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation is a federally endowed agency honoring the late Arizona senator. In its 17-year history, the foundation has awarded more than 4,500 scholarships worth about $45 million.