By Karen Gutierrez
The Cincinnati Enquirer
ERLANGER - A local college student has been awarded a $120,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study at the graduate program of his choice.
John H. "Jack" Challis, son of Richard and Emily Challis of Erlanger, plans to pursue a doctorate in theoretical condensed matter physics at Yale University this fall. He will receive a bachelor's degree in physics and math from the University of Kentucky in May.
Challis is a 2000 graduate of Villa Madonna Academy in Villa Hills. One of his UK professors, Ganpathy Murthy, calls him "the best undergraduate student I've ever seen."
Not only is his physics research outstanding, but he speaks French fluently, reads and writes Latin and is studying Chinese, Murthy said.
"In my opinion, a teacher is privileged to have a student like Jack only once in a lifetime," he said. "His brilliance is nicely complemented by a steady persistence, which will not leave a problem alone until it is solved."
Challis could not be reached for comment Monday, but he told UK that the $120,000 grant freed him from choosing graduate school based on the financial-aid package offered.
His father, Richard, works for Comair, and his mother, Emily, is a French and English teacher at Conner High School.
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