Ari Cukierman is a physics-math double major at William & Mary University in Williamsburg, VA. He will graduate at the top of his class in 2012. Cukierman is the recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Prize in Natural Philosophy for 2012.
Cukierman first became interested in the workings of outer space when his mother would bring him out in the back yard as a child to look at the stars. She was a scientist herself, and used to explain the astrophysics of the cosmos.
Cukierman was originally aiming for a major in music and philosophy, yet became very interested in math and physics. He has been carrying out research on dark matter, specifically the decay of dark matter particles. Professor of Physics, Christopher Carone, supported the nomination by writing a letter explaining that an undergraduate Cukierman was carrying out research and finding consistent results at the same rate as a fifth year Ph.D. student.
It looks like Ari Cukierman has quite a bit of potential as a physicist, and plans to continue his studies in graduate school. With the award, his initiative, and his academic records, Cukierman is a worthy candidate for the top physics graduate programs in the country.
Who would have known the college kid next door was a blossoming astrophysicist? Congratulations to you, Ari Cukierman. We wish you luck going forward!