Stephen Case and Uma Avinash Win 2014 Sloan Prizes

Author: Jessica Baron

The winners of this year’s Phillip R. Sloan Prize are Stephen Case and Uma Avinash!

The prizes are awarded every year to one graduate student who exemplifies a commitment to scholarship and to one undergraduate student who in some special way embodies the mission and core values of the Reilly Center. Both prizes come with a $500 award.

Steve is recognized this year for his high achievement in coursework and the fine work he has done on his doctoral dissertation on Sir John Herschel, which is nearing completion. He was also the lead organizer of “Evidential Reasoning in Astronomy & Cosmology,” a 2013 Andrew W. Mellon/ISLA Interdisciplinary Graduate Student workshop series at Notre Dame that brought important scholars from the US, Canada, and Brazil to interact with the History and Philosophy of Science community. This past winter, Steve's work as curator on the Dioptrice Project, “an initiative to develop a richer history of the telescope through a census of surviving instruments and analysis of their optical properties,” resulted in a publication and presentation at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) annual meeting. His article, “How bright planets became dim stars: planetary speculations in John Herschel's double star astronomy” appeared in the March 2014 issue of Endeavor, a quarterly magazine that highlights “the history and philosophy of science in the service of mankind.” Steve was also interviewed by Science for a feature on his poster presentation of the Dioptrice work at AAAS.

Uma Avinash is an IT Management major and Science, Technology, and Values (STV) minor. She is also the co-founder and chief marketing officer (CMO) of MaxiROi and Nasdeek, two start-up companies currently awaiting provisional patents. MaxiROi’s product is a software system designed “to help in-patient unit Nurse Managers make better decisions for labor resource allocation based on the assigned budget for the unit.” Nasdeek is a networking site for small businesses. In addition to her coursework and business ventures, Uma is the chair of the Academic Committee for Welch Family Hall Council, a student worker at the Stayer Center for Executive Education, and an advocate for The Blood Center of Wisconsin.

The Sloan Prize, named in honor of Dr. Phillip Sloan, a Reilly Faculty Fellow, and an emeritus Professor in the History and Philosophy of Science Ph.D. program, the Department of History, and the Program in Liberal Studies who also served as Director of the Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values from 1997-1999 and as Director of the Ph.D. program in the History and Philosophy of Science from 1994-1997.

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