2024 Goldwater Scholar

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Tim Duong

Third-year chemistry undergraduate researcher and UC LEADS scholar Tim Duong (Neuhauser/Caram groups) is one of three UCLA students to be named Goldwater Scholars in 2024. 

The prestigious national scholarship supports students who show promise of being part of the next generation of research leaders. The 438 Goldwater Scholars were chosen on the basis of academic merit from a pool of over 5,000 natural science, engineering, and mathematics students nominated by the institutional representatives of 446 colleges and universities nationwide. 

Established in 1986 by Congress to honor the work of the late Senator Barry Goldwater, the award is given to sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue careers in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering. Goldwater Scholarships cover the cost of tuition, mandatory fees, books and room and board minus the amount of support provided for by other sources, up to a maximum of $7,500 per full academic year.

This year’s 2024 Goldwater Scholars were recently featured in a UCLA College news article.

“Tim is full of energy and ideas, and has contributed significantly to multiple projects,” said co-mentor Professor Daniel Neuhauser. “It has been a pleasure to have Tim in our groups and I foresee a great future for him”.

Tim’s career goal is to obtain a Ph.D. in Theoretical and Computational Chemistry and lead research on electronic structure theory and quantum dynamics as a tenured university professor. In Professor Daniel Neuhauser’s group, Tim has studied the orthogonal projector augmented wave method and its recent application in time-dependent density functional theory. His current work resides in the analysis of excited states with the GW approximation and Bethe-Salpeter equation. In Professor Justin Caram’s group, Tim has studied the effects of steric bulk on cyanine dye molecular aggregation and currently works on simulated spectroscopy using a homemade universal random number generation method. He is co-mentored by graduate students Minh Nguyen (Neuhauser group) and Barry Y. Li (Caram group) and attributes much of his success to the guidance and wisdom of his mentors.

“Tim is an exceptional scholar and incredibly creative young scientist,” said co-mentor Professor Justin Caram.

In 2022, Tim received the department’s Hosmer Stone Award, which is given to freshmen chemistry and biochemistry students who had the best grades after his/her first year in chemistry and biochemistry classes. In 2023, Tim received the department’s Ramsey Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship and UC LEADS Fellowship, supporting his research endeavors for the summer. His research for 2023-2024 is supported by UC LEADS.  Also in 2023, Tim received the Best GPU Poster Award during the COMP Poster Session at the NVIDIA GPU Award Symposium at the recent American Chemical Society (ACS) Fall 2023 meeting.

Tim is the Secretary of UCLA’s Student Members of the American Chemical Society (SMACS) and has contributed to the organization’s mission to introduce undergraduate students to the vast field of chemistry, connect them with peers, and participate in outreach events. He is also the Founder and President of UCLA’s Computational Chemistry Club (C3), a student organization under the NSF Center for Chemical Innovation: Advanced Molecular Architectures for Quantum Information Science, where he has worked to create an accessible environment for undergraduate students to pursue computational chemistry education and research.

Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu.