Wolfson announces Baruch Spinoza Scholarship

Published on
Friday 6 January 2023
Science & Technology

A brand new scholarship has been created in Physics intended to honour Sir Isaiah Berlin, the College’s founder.

Wolfson College is pleased to announce the creation of the Baruch Spinoza Scholarship in Physics. This scholarship has been made possible thanks to a generous gift from Dr Matthew C. Levy, a Wolfson alumnus. This scholarship is intended to honour Sir Isaiah Berlin, the College’s founder and like Spinoza an influential philosopher. By offering it to a physicist, it is oriented to acknowledge the origination of physics as experimental philosophy, in the Oxford tradition. With a focus on organic photovoltaics, it matches Wolfson’s sustainability agenda.

Dr Levy is the founder of Noble.ai, a start-up focused on accelerating research. He said “I am honoured to support this scholarship. Spinoza as a philosopher and ethicist suggested that ‘the objective of the state is freedom’ and as such there are no stipulations on the research program undertaken by the student, save for the guidance and capable hands of his or her professor. In addition, in times like these where anti-Semitism appears to be on the rise around the world, I am conscious of supporting this scholarship named in recognition of a great Jewish academic and thinker.”

With the support of Noble.ai, tool access will be provided as part of the scholarship.

The scholarship has been awarded to Wolfson D.Phil. student Zhenlong Li, who will work alongside Moritz Riede, Professor of Soft Functional Nanomaterials in the Department of Physics. With Professor Riede setting the research thrust, Li’s work will focus on renewable energies, a societal megatrend and a huge growth market. “We are delighted to receive this support for Wolfson and its leading sustainability research. It is in line with the College’s sustainability and zero carbon initiatives. Organic photovoltaics has transformative potential and the scholarship will help us unlock this”, said Professor Riede.