Adam Bouland ’09 is Yale’s lone winner of this year’s Marshall scholarship, given annually to up to 40 American students for postgraduate study in the United Kingdom.
Bouland, a computer science and mathematics major, will spend two years at the University of Cambridge studying mathematics and physics, each for one year. In each of the past two years, two Yale students were offered Marshall scholarships. The number of Marshall scholars from any given institution routinely fluctuates from year to year, said Director of UK and Irish Fellowships Katherine Dailinger, adding that the Marshall is “fiercely competitive” and “highly prestigious.”
Last year, 37 out of 886 applicants were awarded the Marshall scholarship. Forty students received the scholarship this year, though application figures have not yet been released.
Bouland, a Maryland native and member of Silliman College, was one of 10 members of the class of 2009 inducted to Phi Beta Kappa during junior year. A Goldwater scholar, Bouland is a member of the Yale Concert Band and is the chaplain of the Conservative Party of the Yale Political Union.
Bouland also serves as the technical director of Yale’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders, which has been working to bring clean water to Kikoo, a remote village in Cameroon where he spent two weeks over the summer in 2007.
Bouland said working with residents in Kikoo has taught him the value of such projects in the developing world.
“When you go to Kikoo, if you give someone an empty water bottle, they will accept that graciously as a gift,” he said. “It makes you appreciate the position we have in this world, at Yale.”
Bouland is both “an amazing scholar” and a “self-effacing and humble guy,” said Silliman College Dean Hugh Flick.
At Yale, Bouland has undertaken several research projects, including the development of software that analyzes data of cosmic microwave background radiation, which cosmologists use to learn about the physics of the early universe.
Bouland’s research will likely help improve certain practices within data analysis, said physics and astronomy professor Richard Easther, who works with Bouland on the research and recommended him for the Marshall.
“It’s a way of accelerating a widely used technique inside of cosmology and many other scientific fields,” he said.
In his other research projects, Bouland has studied simulations of faults at Stanford University, examined the process of blow-molding bulk metallic glass at Yale and investigated the structural dynamics of shock at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory.
While at Cambridge, Bouland will receive a certificate of advanced study in mathematics during his first year, and he said he plans to spend his second year doing theoretical physics research. Afterwards, Bouland said he intends to return to the United States to earn his doctorate, followed by a likely career in academia.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the U.S. Naval Academy and Harvard all had the most Marshall scholars, with four each. The only other Ivies with Marshall scholars were Columbia and Princeton universities, which, like Yale, had one Marshall winner each.