Alaei named Astronaut Scholar

Sauviz Alaei, a Physics and Math major from Eagan, has been named a recipient of the Astronaut Scholarship. The Scholarship is awarded annually to outstanding sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research-oriented careers in math, engineering and the natural and applied sciences.

Alaei has been working for two years in the condensed matter physics lab of Professor Dan Dahlberg of the School of Physics and Astronomy. In his first project there, Alaei created an apparatus to measure the frequency response of a new magnetostrictive material developed in the lab. The resulting data revealed some surprising qualities of the new material, which behaved in unexpected ways at low frequencies. Alaei presented his findings at the American Physical Society’s 2021 meeting and will publish it in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Applied Physics. He is working on a new project testing the predictions of the Wolfarth model for magnetic remanence in a ferrofluid containing magnetite nanoparticles. In the future, he would like to apply his research experience to creating and assessing materials for quantum computing.

Alaei is the vice president of the U of M Society of Physics Students, where he has helped to implement a new mentoring program and other pandemic-related initiatives that have helped to triple the membership. As a member of the University Honors Program he has served as tutor for Honors Physics courses.

The prestigious Astronaut Scholarship, initiated by the Mercury-7 astronauts, awards up to $15,000 for a year of undergraduate study. In addition, recipients will receive mentoring and professional development support, attend the Astronaut Foundation’s Innovators Gala in Orlando, Fla., and have the opportunity to participate in other Astronaut Foundation events.