Family of winners: professor, daughter win Medal of Science, Marshall Scholarship


CAMBRIDGE, MA--They broke out the champagne at the Bahcall home on Adams Drive in Princeton, NJ, this week.

On Monday, Orli, a 22-year-old senior majoring in biology at MIT, received a Marshall Scholarship to do post-graduate work at Oxford University.

The following day, her father, John, a professor of astrophysics at Princeton University's Institute for Advanced Study, was named a National Medal of Science award winner. Professor Bahcall helped develop the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope and worked diligently to have it funded.

"We had a nice little party for both of us," said Ms. Bahcall. "We're very proud of each other."

Ms. Bahcall, whose GPA is a perfect 5.0, learned the value of academic achievement early in life.

"I remember running home one day from middle school to show my father my report card and ask if, like my best friend, I could get a present for every 'A' I had earned," she said. "My father just laughed and said that he had never asked me to get good grades. I learned to be driven internally -- to be driven by a desire to satisfy myself rather than to satisfy others. The reward, and the motivation, is in the learning -- not in the stamp of approval."

Ms. Bahcall, president of the Biology Undergraduate Student Association and founding editor of the Biology Undergraduate Journal at MIT, will study the history of medicine at Oxford. She minored in political science and plans to pursue a career in public policy and science.

Her mother, Neta, a professor of astrophysics at Princeton, gave the family reason to celebrate last spring when she was inducted into the National Academy of Science. Her husband was already a member.

"My mother was always a role model for me," said Ms. Bahcall. "Twenty years ago, there weren't many women in science, but that didn't stop her. Through determination and hard work, she kept pushing forward. I'm very proud of her, too." ������������������


Topics: Awards, honors and fellowships, Students

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