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Notre Dame alumnus Andrew Langford named Hertz Fellow

University of Notre Dame alumnus Andrew Langford has been named one of 18 Hertz Fellowship recipients for the 2024 application cycle. He is Notre Dame’s second Hertz fellow overall and first since 2010.

University of Notre Dame alumnus Andrew Langford has been named one of 18 Hertz Fellowship recipients for the 2024 application cycle. He is Notre Dame’s second Hertz fellow overall and first since 2010.

Presented by the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation, the Hertz fellowship identifies doctoral students with the extraordinary creativity and principled leadership necessary to tackle problems others cannot solve. The intensive selection process involves a written application and two rounds of technical interviews. It is among the most prestigious STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) graduate fellowships in the nation.

Hertz Fellows receive five years of funding, offering flexibility from the traditional constraints of graduate training and the independence needed to pursue research that best advances the nation’s security and economic vitality.

Former recipients of the award include Nobel Laureates and MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipients. Hertz Fellows hold more than 3,000 patents, have founded more than 375 companies and have created hundreds of thousands of technology jobs.

Langford graduated from Notre Dame in 2022 with a bachelor of science in honors physics and concentrations in applied physics, advanced physics and astrophysics. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, a Goldwater Scholar, a Sorin Scholar and a recipient of the Outstanding Senior Physics Major Award. As a senior, he was one of 11 Notre Dame students and alumni awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. He was a founding member and first director of research and development for IrishSat, a student-led small satellite and space technology team.

Langford pursued undergraduate research within the Department of Physics and Astronomy under Assistant Professor Lauren Weiss, Professor Peter Garnavich and astronomer Colin Littlefield, a Notre Dame alumnus. As a graduate student, he earned a master of philosophy in astronomy from the University of Cambridge Institute of Astronomy in England. There, his research focused on extending theories of planetary dynamics in multi-body gravitational environments, such as close-binary stars and the Pluto-Charon system.

He is currently pursuing a doctorate in astrodynamics from Purdue University, where his research focuses on applications of dynamical systems theory to understand the natural behavior of orbits and enhance spaceflight capabilities in multi-body gravitational environments. He intends to use his expertise to contribute toward a sustainable cislunar presence and deliver scientific and economic opportunity to Earth.

“I am fortunate to have had supportive mentors at Notre Dame provide me with guidance and freedom to develop original research as an undergraduate,” Langford said. “The breadth of opportunities gave me the exposure and inspiration to pursue my research interests to the fullest degree.”

Langford worked closely with the Flatley Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE) in applying for the fellowship.

“The CUSE team has had the pleasure of working with Andrew since his sophomore year at Notre Dame, when he entered our Sorin Scholars program,” said Emily Hunt, the assistant director of scholarly development at CUSE. “In this program, we witnessed him develop both personally and professionally through his commitment to research, scholarship and giving back to his community. We were glad to have the chance to assist in his application to become a Hertz Fellow.

“We congratulate Andrew on this well-deserved honor, which is illustrative of the excellent STEM education students can receive at Notre Dame. We are incredibly proud of him and look forward to following his career.”

For more on this and other scholarship opportunities, visit cuse.nd.edu.

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