Physics major Nathan Wagner awarded Goldwater Scholarship

This story is modified from one published by University Communications

Physics and mathematics major Nathan Wagner is one of four UW–Madison students named as winners of 2024 Goldwater Scholarships, the premier undergraduate scholarship in mathematics, engineering and the natural sciences in the United States.

The scholarship program honors the late Sen. Barry Goldwater and is designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue research careers.

“I’m so proud of these four immensely talented scholars and all they’ve accomplished,” says Julie Stubbs, director of UW’s Office of Undergraduate Academic Awards. “Their success also reflects well on a campus culture that prioritizes hands-on research experiences for our undergraduates and provides strong mentoring in mathematics, engineering and the natural sciences.”

The other UW–Madison students are juniors Katarina Aranguiz and Scott Chang and sophomore Max Khanov .

A Goldwater Scholarship provides as much as $7,500 each year for up to two years of undergraduate study. A total of 438 Goldwater Scholars were selected this year from a field of 1,353 students nominated by their academic institutions.

profile picture of Nathan Wagner
Nathan Wagner (Photo by Taylor Wolfram / UW–Madison)

Sophomore Nathan Wagner of Madison, Wisconsin

Wagner is majoring in physics and mathematics. Wagner began research in Professor Mark Saffman’s quantum computing lab in spring 2021 as a high school junior. His first-author manuscript, “Benchmarking a Neutral-Atom Quantum Computer” was recently accepted for publication in the International Journal of Quantum Information. In Summer 2023, Wagner started research with the Physics Department’s High Energy Physics Group, working alongside Professor Sridhara Dasu and others on future particle colliders design research. Wagner was invited to present his research at the Department of Physics Board of Visitors meeting in fall 2023. This summer, he will complete a research internship at Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago, focusing on computational physics. Wagner plans to pursue a PhD in physics and a career at a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory researching novel carbon-neutral energy generation, quantum computing and networking, nuclear photonics and computational physics.

About the Goldwater Scholarship

Congress established the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation in 1986. Goldwater served in the U.S. Senate for over 30 years and challenged Lyndon B. Johnson for the presidency in 1964. A list of past winners from UW–Madison can be found here.