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Doctoral student receives prestigious Department of Defense scholarship

A Florida State University doctoral student is a recipient of a Science, Mathematics and Research Transformation (SMART) Scholarship for Service, established by the Department of Defense (DOD).

Daniel Fenn, a student in the Department of Scientific Computing from Tremonton, Utah, is receiving research funding sponsored by Air Force Division A9 located at the Pentagon as part of the scholarship. The funding includes a $38,000 stipend as well as allowances for books and health insurance. He also will participate in paid internships with the DOD each summer until graduation.

"We are so proud of Dan and these accomplishments and are confident that this is part of the continuum of his bright scientific career," said Keisha John, assistant dean of the Graduate School and director of the Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards.

His doctoral research focuses on whether two stars colliding with each other can cause a Type la supernova, or an energetic explosion. Astronomers use these explosions as distance indicators and to infer the age and expansion rate of the universe. The explosions also contribute to the chemical evolution of the universe and the heavy elements that are needed to form solar systems and planets.

While the origins of the supernovae remain much of a mystery, Fenn is helping to conduct large-scale, multiphysics simulations of white dwarf mergers to explore a leading theory that it may result in a Type la supernova.