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Sophomore Noah Vieira named Beckman Research Scholar

Grätzel cells/DSSCs shown on the SwissTech Convention Center, Ecublens, Switzerland. By SwissTech Convention Center, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Furman University’s Department of Chemistry has named sophomore chemistry major Noah Vieira of Myrtle Beach a Beckman Research Scholar as part of a three-year grant from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation awarded in 2015. Furman was one of only 12 institutions nationwide selected to participate in the Beckman Scholars Program during the 2015 funding cycle.

Noah Vieira, Class of 2019

The Beckman Scholars Program provides undergraduates and faculty in chemistry and biological sciences unique opportunities for excellence through sustained, in-depth laboratory research experiences.

Earmarked for the nation’s “most talented and gifted undergraduates,” funds awarded through the Beckman Scholars Program support four scholars over three years. Each scholar named by Furman receives a $26,000 award to perform research.

Working with Furman Chemistry Professor Paul Wagenknecht, Vieira will present important discoveries related to solar energy at the International Symposium on Photochemistry and Photophysics of Coordination Compounds (ISPPCC) to be held in July in Oxford, United Kingdom.

Said Wagenknecht, “Our Beckman Scholars are chosen because they are the best and brightest of our program, and the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation has determined that Furman’s undergraduate research program is among the top in the country. That combination puts Noah in pretty rare company.”

The biennial ISPPCC conference brings together many of the high-impact researchers in the world to discuss fundamentals and applications involving the interaction of light with inorganic materials.

Wagenknecht says Vieira made a significant discovery last summer which may improve the process of harvesting solar energy through dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs), a more cost-effective solar cell than silicon-based cells. At Furman, Wagenknecht and student researchers work on preparing cheaper, more efficient dyes for the DSSCs.

Wagenknecht routinely brings students along to conferences such as the ISPPCC through the support from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, which in addition to funding research, provides travel funds for faculty and students to attend the meeting. “This is an incredible opportunity for these students, and is part of what makes Furman unique,” said Wagenknecht.

For more information, contact Paul Wagenknecht, Herman N. Hipp Professor of Chemistry, 864-294-2905, Or contact the Furman News and Media Relations office at 864-294-3107.

About the Beckman Scholars Program
Participation in the Beckman Scholars Program includes a highly competitive, invitation-only application process which examines undergraduate research quality and commitment indicators at universities and colleges across the country. In 2015, 154 institutions were asked to submit applications to be considered for the awards. Following review of the applications, an advisory panel composed of distinguished science faculty assisted the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation in selecting 39 finalist institutions, from which were culled 12 winners, less than eight percent of the invited applicants. Furman is one of only a few institutions that has been awarded continuous funding by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation since the program’s inception in 1998.


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