Prize Recipient

Gasper Martinez

Gasper Martinez


Background:

My name is Gasper Martinez and I will be attending Stanford University. I live in Los Angeles, specifically the South Central Area. Attending Loyola High School seems to have been a major influence in my choice to study physics. My chemistry teacher in my junior year had worked for NASA, while his wife worked at JPL. He decided to start a club, a physics club to be exact. I was already a three year veteran of a geology club, and I decided, why not join another science club. But this was not just a science club. The first meeting consisted of a lesson of wave harmonics, which was followed by some actual homework. Fundamentally, I was opposed to homework, but this was actually interesting. Pretty soon, we were visiting the UCLA Plasma Lab and designing rockets to compete in a competition. My chemistry teacher also arranged for an astrophysicist to come talk to us about her work with radio telescopes. This encounter, in essence, solidified my love for physics and made me promise myself to do something in the field of physics.

In my senior year, I took a physics course, which gave me some direction as to what type of physics I would like to study. After skimming the surface of astrophysics and astronomy, I knew I wanted to study astrophysics. After some individual study of cosmology and astronomy, I came to the realization that I wanted to study this stuff with my own eyes. I decided that I would become an astronomical engineer, where I would revolutionize space technology as we know it, designing satellites with better resolution, interplanetary probes that were faster and more equipped to take all sorts of measurements, and spacecraft that made interplanetary travel, much more economical and practical.