Retired NASA Mercury astronaut and University of Colorado at Boulder alumnus Scott Carpenter, the second American to orbit Earth, will be on campus Nov. 15 to present a $10,000 scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation to University of Colorado at Boulder senior Ben Safdi.
Carpenter, who graduated from CU-Boulder in aeronautical engineering in 1949 and orbited Earth three times in 1962, will present the check to Safdi, a senior in the College of Engineering and Applied Science. Safdi is one of 19 science and engineering students nationwide selected to receive a $10,000 scholarship through the ASF.
The award presentation and a free public lecture by Carpenter at 3 p.m. on Nov. 15 will be held in the Discovery Learning Center's Bechtel Collaboratory, the building's main conference room located on the first floor. The DLC is located on the northeast side of the engineering college at the intersection of Regent Drive and Colorado Avenue. Paid parking is available at the Euclid Autopark, located just east of the University Memorial Center.
"These scholarships are a way for me and my fellow astronauts to give back to the country that provided us with an extraordinary opportunity," said Carpenter. "Ben will be one of the many leaders who will keep the United States at the edge of breakthrough technology, and I consider it an honor to be presenting him with this check."
The award will be used for Safdi's continuing education at CU-Boulder, where he is double majoring in engineering physics and applied mathematics. A native of Cincinnati, he plans to apply his research in quantum computation and nanotechnology in future medical research. Safdi, who also has competed as a professional rock climber, received a fellowship with the European Organization for Nuclear Research last summer.
"We are grateful for the continuing support of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, which has honored seven of our students since 2001," said CU-Boulder Chancellor G.P. "Bud" Peterson. "We look forward to great things from Ben Safdi and outstanding students like him who continue to make great strides on the research front as CU-Boulder undergraduates."
Carpenter was selected as one of the original Mercury seven astronauts in 1959. He flew the second orbital flight in a Mercury capsule on May 24, 1962 and he piloted the Aurora 7 spacecraft through three revolutions of Earth, reaching a maximum altitude of 164 miles. He later served as an aquanaut aboard SEALAB, giving him the distinction of being the first human being to conduct missions in both outer- and inner- space.
He returned to NASA and was active in the design of the Apollo Lunar Landing module and in underwater spacewalk crew training. Carpenter was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame on May 11, 1990. He is a founder of ASF and currently serves on its board of directors.
To date, 17 astronaut-alumni from CU-Boulder and one from CU-Colorado Springs have flown in space.
The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 1984 by the six surviving members of America's six original Mercury astronauts. Its goal is to aid the United States in retaining world leadership in science and technology by providing scholarships to college students who exhibit motivation, imagination and exceptional performance in the science or engineering field of their major.
ASF funds 19 $10,000 scholarships annually and has awarded nearly $2.5 million to 226 students nationwide. For more information visit the Web at: http://www.AstronautScholarship.org.