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OSA / MRS Congressional Fellowship

Materials Research Society / The Optical Society


Term: 2009-2010
Gavi Begtrup

Gavi Begtrup earned his PhD in physics from the University of California, Berkeley in December 2008 and his BS from Western Kentucky University in May 2002. His PhD dissertation was titled "Silicon Nitride Membranes for Electrical and Thermal Transport Studies of Nanotubes," and his graduate research spanned the breadth of nanotechnology research, from synthesis and characterization to micofabrication and analysis of devices. By developing a novel silicon nitride platform, he was able to observe with atomic precision the evolution of nanotube devices during their operation, resulting in the study of the high-temperature (3000K) local properties of carbon nanotubes as well as the creation of a new type of nanoscale memory element. His discoveries have applications in electronics heat management and future data storage.

Gavi's growing interest in policy led to his involvement in student politics on both a local and national level. During graduate school, he served as the vice president of external affairs for the UC Berkeley Graduate Assembly as well as the chair of the American Physical Society Forum on Graduate Student Affairs. After completing his PhD, he spent the fall of 2008 as a Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellow at the National Academies of Science. He worked with the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy on a project related to the efficacy and utility of large-scale science projects, such as the proposed "Manhattan Project for Energy."

The MRS/OSA congressional fellowship will give Gavi a tremendous opportunity to develop his understanding of the political system and the many externalities of policy decisions; he looks forward to developing the skills necessary to craft informed and balanced policies. Gavi looks forward to working on issues ranging from energy, research and innovation, and health care to topics far afield of his knowledge base and hopes to leverage his scientific training and perspective to address the many opportunities Congress has to better society.