Science Wunderkind: Santiago Paiva

Vanier Science student extraordinaire, Santiago Paiva can add another feather to his cap: he recently won a grant from Forces Avenir, a program which aims to recognize, honour and promote students who have exhibited remarkable excellence and commitment while rigorously pursuing their studies.

A strong contingent of Vanier supporters including Jim Atkinson, Joshua Berman, Cari Clough, Jonathan Goldman, Monique Magnan, and Judy MacDonald travelled to Quebec City to watch Santiago accept his award at the Forces Avenir Gala on September 7, 2011.

A winning project on asteroids
In addition to winning a grant in the Project Category, Santiago’s entry, “Simulating Asteroids: Detection and Analysis,” won the overall award for best project. Not surprising because Santi is not afraid of tackling big questions.  When Santiago saw that astronomers could collect information on asteroids, comets and other celestial objects, but didn’t have the time or resources to figure out what they were seeing, he found a solution.  He used innovative software he is developing to facilitate the analysis of information collected by telescopes on near-Earth asteroids and to assess the probability of a collision with our planet.

Making his mark around the world
Santiago’s exploits are numerous: first place in the North American division of the Present Around the World (PATW) Competition and third in the world overall; initiating the Techno Talks Speaker Series; Chairman of IET Montreal Young Professionals; invited speaker at the prestigious Ignite Montreal speaker’s event; and the recipient of the VIP Scholarship at the 2011 Graduation Ceremony.

Physics at McGill this fall
This fall, he will be continuing his studies in Physics at McGill University but his real dream is to pursue a graduate degree at either MIT or Stanford and eventually work at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

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