Department of Physics & Energy Science student awarded Barry Goldwater scholarship

Lawrence Scafuri, LAS Physics & Energy Science student

Lawrence Scafuri, a Department of Physics & Energy Science student, recently accepted a prestigious scholarship to further pursue his research in physics.

Lawrence received the award from the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, one of the most esteemed federal scholarships for the natural sciences. The scholarship provides assistance to “college sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering.” Goldwater scholars often go on to earn other prestigious awards and fellowships and work in the vital research fields of national defense, engineering, medical advancements and more.

“Winning the scholarship was a significant personal achievement,” said Lawrence. “I am delighted that the Goldwater Scholarship board saw my potential in physics research and my dedication to pursuing it as a career. It is serves as an external validation of my abilities as a future physics researcher.”

Lawrence’s research is in the field of condensed-matter physics and he is a member of the research group headed by Assistant Professor Ezio Iacocca, Ph.D.

“There are many areas of research that I find exciting in this subdiscipline, including my current work on artificial spin ices (ASIs),” said Lawrence. “These are arrays of magnets structured in geometrical patterns. Research on nanoscopic ASIs has the potential to transform data storage and emerging technologies like neuromorphic computing. At the macroscale, they show interesting nonlinear dynamics that can further inform microfabrication of functional devices. The key properties of spin ices that have captivated researchers are their resonances and nonlinearity.”

This research was key in Lawrence’s scholarship application, which was a rigorous process that had several steps and essay requirements, making it an even more impressive accomplishment.

“I am very happy that Lawrence obtained such a prestigious scholarship,” said Iacocca. “Lawrence has a clear view of his future career and he has the dedication, talent, creativity, skill, and work ethics needed to succeed in research. He has been working in the development of a numerical model for a macroscopic artificial spin ice: the interaction between magnets positioned in a geometric grid and with rotational degrees of freedom. This is a grad-level research topic that Lawrence has excelled in. Furthermore, he is also working on numerical simulations of a nanoscopic artificial spin ice which we aim to realize experimentally with collaborators.”

Lawrence hopes to continue pursuing research and to become a theoretical particle physicist.

“I first became interested in studying particle physics when a graduate student here showed me some interesting results from quantum field theory,” Lawrence shared. “He had always been an insightful person, and I found him to have had a comprehensive understanding of many areas of physics. That he was most interested in particle physics and promoted it so frequently made me very excited about the field. Dr. Iacocca has also strongly encouraged my interest in becoming a theorist.”

About the UCCS College of Letters, Arts & Sciences

The College of Letters, Arts & Sciences at UCCS is the university’s largest college, enrolling nearly 6,000 students across 21 departments and programs. The college offers 19 majors and 53 minors in the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Students can also choose from five accelerated bachelor’s and master’s degrees, nine full master’s degrees and three Ph.D. degrees, as well as pre-medical and pre-law programs. The mission of the college is to position graduates for success in their personal and professional lives, with a focus on thinking, creating and communicating — skills vital to employers and graduate and professional schools. Learn more about the College of Letters, Arts & Sciences at UCCS.