Rhodes Scholarship a dream come true for honours student

Friday 13 December 2019

Physics honours graduate Matt Goh is Oxford-bound after winning a Rhodes Scholarship.

Matt’s studies of ultracold atoms that could contribute to a new kind of quantum computing platform – a quantum emulator – alongside his work with solar cars, film, drama productions and academic mentoring won him the prestigious scholarship, which will see him study a Doctor of Philosophy at Oxford University in the UK.

“I had known about the Rhodes Scholarship, and dreamed about it in the way that one might dream of receiving that coveted letter from Hogwarts,” he said.

“Finding out I had been elected as a Rhodes Scholar, I saw my whole future shift, and realised that many of my greatest aspirations were now possible in a way that otherwise wouldn't have been possible.

“I cried from happiness, collected myself, went outside and called my mum,” he said.

As well as academic achievement Matt has immersed himself in extra-curricular activities, a crucial criterion for the Rhodes scholarship.

“ANU was where I found my wings, and had a chance to pour my energy into endeavours beyond my study,” Matt said.

“On the academic side I've had a lot of opportunities to engage in research, spanning quantum atom optics, condensed matter, nuclear, laser and particle physics, and to spend time at other institutions through exchange programs.”

Matt’s success in the Rhodes Scholarship is the culmination of a series of awards, including, the Dunbar Physics Honours Scholarship and a University Medal. He was also a Summer Scholar at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. Matt was also one of the three inaugural recipients of the Love Scholarship for academically capable students who have dealt with personal hardships.

“John Love was a beloved academic at ANU. We met John shortly before he passed away, and I would like to think that he'd be so proud if he could see where his support got me,” Matt said.

At Oxford Matt will continue his work towards quantum emulators, which he says can be used to “study currently inaccessible systems, and crack mysteries such as high-temperature superconductivity.” He hopes to work with Professor Dieter Jaksch, a pioneer of the theory of cold atoms in optical lattices.

“He has been a leader in the field - it's truly exciting to have a chance to work with one of the original legends of my field!” Matt said.

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Updated:  15 January 2019/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPhys/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster