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Amar Bose

Love of Music and Electronics Leads to a Revolution in Sound

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to a Bengali father and U.S.-born mother, Amar Bose studied the violin as a child and nurtured a passion for both classical music and the anatomy of sound.

Bose had a fascination with electronics, beginning with fixing electric trains and repairing things. While in high school, he operated his own radio repair shop, building a solid understanding of how electronics work.

“I could build these things and get them to work, but I couldn’t design them,” said Bose. “I wanted very much to know what the theory was behind all of this.”

Bose’s intellectual dedication resulted in a full scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering in the 1950s. When Bose earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering, he rewarded himself with a new Hi-Fi sound system. His disappointment in the sound quality led him to ponder better ways to replicate a “concert hall-level” of sound quality through a speaker.

In 1956, he earned a Fulbright U.S. Student award in Mathematics, traveling to the National Physical Laboratory in New Delhi, India. He then returned to MIT as a faculty member, using the new experiences and ideas gained on Fulbright to inform his academic and professional work. Despite his later commercial success, Bose taught at MIT for more than 45 years and became one of the most challenging and popular instructors of his time.

Outside of academia, Bose turned his ideas into action, creating one of America’s most innovative and successful audio technology companies in 1964: Bose Corporation. The Bose Corporation’s first contracts were not for home devices; the company supported NASA and the U.S. Military with improved audio communications. Amar Bose and his team would later build the global Bose brand of commercial products based on his groundbreaking loudspeaker designs.

Bose propelled scientific inquiry and invention forward with the discovery of new concepts and the development of new products such as the best-selling 901 speaker system, which offered life-like sound through bookshelf-size speakers; the first factory-installed sound systems for vehicles; and countless other systems designed to deliver a rich, deep sound quality for use inside and outside of the home.

Today, Bose iPhone docks, surround-sound home entertainment speaker systems, and noise-canceling headphones dominate the market. Bose loudspeakers are used all over the world, from the Sistine Chapel to Olympic stadiums. A Fulbright alumnus with a household name, his accolades include induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame and receipt of the prestigious “Red Dot: Design Team of the Year” award. Like so many Fulbrighters, Amar Bose used his intellect, observations, and understanding of what brings people together to make advances which improve the lives and the listening experience of people across the globe.

Radically Reimagining Public Education in the Midst of a Pandemic

When asked to describe her Fulbright experience in one word, Jenné Nurse unequivocally replies: “transformational.” She explains that her experience shaped every part of who she is: “Not only are you moving all across the world, but you’re immersing yourself into someone else’s culture and their ways of doing things. It challenges you in ways you wouldn’t expect, but it shows you just who you are. It made me a more aware and attentive person.”

Today, Nurse is a champion of education and equity for all Virginia students. In 2019, as a Fulbright U.S. Student English Teaching Assistant (ETA), she traveled 8,000 miles to South Africa to discover the transformational power of education. Now, directly inspired by her Fulbright experience, Nurse is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Department of Education Equity Coordinator, ensuring all students have access to a quality education.

After earning both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Virginia, and spending time as a middle school English teacher, Nurse taught through Fulbright at Boetse Secondary School, a rural high school 40 minutes outside Johannesburg. She provided classroom English language instruction to classes of 50 to 80 children and worked one-on-one with students requiring additional instructional support.

Outside of her teaching responsibilities, Nurse led fundraising initiatives, capitalized on community relationships, and organized volunteers to support building a sorely-needed school library and outdoor classroom. She even coached junior and senior debate teams to their first-ever semi-finals. The Fulbright experience reinforced her strong desire to remain in education as a career and led her to seek positions in which she could help solve larger educational challenges.

While in South Africa, Nurse enrolled in the Johns Hopkins University School of Education, and earned her Post-Master’s Certificate in School Administration and Supervision. In November 2019, she began her role as the first ever Equity Coordinator at the Virginia Department of Education, where she now supports internal efforts to advance equity outcomes for Virginia’s 1.2 million public school students.

Shortly after starting her position, she was faced with a new challenge: the effect of the pandemic on public education in Virginia.

“[The pandemic] has shed light on inequities, but… I see this as a refresh, a restart, a chance to do things right….. The pandemic has given us a way to radically reimagine public education,” she explained.

Throughout the pandemic, Nurse’s office has focused on how to make remote instruction engaging, how to promote equity and access to technology for all students receiving remote instruction, and how to ensure instruction is culturally relevant. Over the last year, she has worked to pool resources from strategic partners to support instructors delivering remote learning. As the Commonwealth of Virginia began planning how to safely reopen schools during the pandemic, Nurse served on the restart committee’s equity subcommittee, providing comprehensive guidance on restart plans for 132 school systems to ensure equity across learning, nutrition, transportation, and more.

Nurse has dedicated her career to ensuring all children have the opportunity to be successful, no matter their background. She is laser-focused on statewide efforts aimed at advancing education equity, closing achievement gaps, and decreasing disproportionality in student outcomes.

As a Fulbright Alumni Ambassador, Nurse shares her passion for Fulbright by strongly encouraging students of all backgrounds to apply.

Each day in her position, Nurse lives out Fulbright’s mission of enhancing mutual understanding and making meaningful contributions to our communities and our world.

Maverick of Physics Advances Medicine in Unimaginable Ways

Revolutionizing 20th-century medicine, Rosalyn Yalow, Ph.D. was driven to discovery. Born in 1921 in the South Bronx, New York, she eventually became the second American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

The daughter of parents who never finished high school, Dr. Yalow was a skilled student with big dreams. While her parents strongly encouraged her to become a teacher, she was set on a career in medical research. She forged her own path, graduating magna cum laude from Hunter College (CUNY) as its first physics major.

As a woman in science in the 1940’s, she faced significant hurdles. Not able to pay for a graduate degree, she took a secretarial job at Columbia University in exchange for tuition. Later, she became the only female on the 400-member faculty of the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She graduated from Illinois, earning a Ph.D. in nuclear physics, which paved the way for her research into radioisotopes.

Back in the Bronx, at the Veterans Administration Hospital, Dr. Yalow and her colleague Solomon Berson developed the radioimmunoassay (RIA) technique to precisely detect and measure hormones, viruses, drugs, vitamins, proteins, and enzymes. This discovery made a significant impact not only in the treatment of diabetes, a disease that afflicted her husband, but it also paved the way to advanced biological research in areas such as infertility, antibiotic dosage, and virus screenings.

In 1977, Dr. Yalow won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and, in that same year, received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar award to Portugal.

Throughout her career, Dr. Yalow encouraged women to pursue careers in science. While at Hunter College, she mentored one of her talented female physics students, Mildred Dresselhaus, who would become a prominent American physicist, Fulbrighter, and Presidential Medal of Freedom awardee, as well as the first woman to win the National Medal of Science in Engineering. Dr. Dresselhaus remarked that at Hunter, it was the first time that she “had the idea that women could study physics as well as men could.”

Rosalyn Yalow developed new advances in medical research, created new opportunities for colleagues, and mentored women in science. She will be remembered for her determination, insights, and impact.

To learn more about Fulbright alumni who have won Nobel Prizes, click here for the full list.

Serving communities around the world, Fulbright alumni are innovative, collaborative, and driven in their approach to advancing health, science, and technology. Fifty-three Fulbright alumni in these fields have been awarded Nobel Prizes in Chemistry, Economic Sciences, Physics, and Physiology or Medicine.

Fulbright alumni overwhelmingly indicate that their participation expanded their knowledge and understanding of their academic fields and resulted in real-world research applications. An alumni survey of 2005-2015 Fulbright U.S. Scholars found that 88 percent of respondents reported that they were exposed to new ideas and concepts in their field as a result of their Fulbright, and 90 percent reported gaining a deeper understanding of their discipline and research area.

Fulbrighters have furthered research and collaboration to solve complex challenges in public health and medicine, pushed technology to new frontiers, and explored new trends in science that have positively impacted individuals and communities around the globe. Learn more about these researchers in the features below.

Joy Buolamwini

UNITED STATES TO ZAMBIA, 2012-2013

Joy Buolamwini (Fulbright U.S. Student to Zambia, 2012-2013) has been called “the conscience of the Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) Revolution.” She is an algorithmic bias researcher and digital activist, who founded the Algorithmic Justice League with the vision of creating a world with more equitable and accountable technology. Buolamwini first entered the digital sphere as an undergraduate student at Georgia Tech (Georgia Institute of Technology), researching health informatics in her computer science program. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree, she was selected for aFulbright U.S. Student award. While on her Fulbright, she founded the Zamrize Initiative, a program which empowers Zambian youth to become creators of technology through lab-based computational experiences

Following her Fulbright experience, Buolamwini launched her “Code 4 Rights” project to promote women’s rights through technology education. As a passionate advocate for increasing STEM education, she developed Code 4 Rights with the mission to ensure that every country in the world has accessible information about local services that support women’s rights and that women are given the opportunity to create beneficial technology. Buolamwini noted that Code 4 Rights is a direct result of her Fulbright, stating, it “would not be possible without the time I spent as a Fulbright Fellow in Zambia.”

After completing a master’s degree in education from the University of Oxford, Buolamwini explored algorithmic bias at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Her master’s thesis at MIT, published in 2017, uncovered large racial and gender biases in A.I. services offered by companies like Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon. To reduce these biases, she has championed the need for algorithmic justice at the World Economic Forum and the United Nations. Buolamwini serves on the Global Tech Panel convened by the Vice-President of the European Commission to advise world leaders and technology executives on ways to reduce the harms of A.I. In partnership with the Georgetown Law Center on Privacy and Technology, she launched the Safe Face Pledge, the first agreement of its kind prohibiting the misuse of facial analysis and recognition technology by law enforcement and governments. Buolamwini has been named to the Bloomberg 50, MIT Tech Review “35 under 35,” BBC “100 Women,” Forbes “Top 50 Women in Tech,” and Forbes “30 under 30.” Fortune Magazine named her intheir 2019 list of the world’s greatest leaders, describing her as “the conscience of the A.I. revolution.”

Rana Dajani, Ph.D

JORDAN TO UNITED STATES, 2000-2002, 2012-2013

Rana Dajani (Fulbright Foreign Student, 2000-2002; Visiting Scholar, 2012-2013) is a molecular biologist and an authority on genetics in Jordan, with a research focus on diabetes, cancer, and stem cells. Her work bridges biological evolution theory and Islam, and was instrumental in establishing research law and ethics for stem cell therapy use in Jordan, opening the door for regulation in the Arab and Islamic world. For her contributions to science, she has been ranked 12th among the 100 most influential Arab women by Muslim Science Magazine in 2015, and was inducted into the U.S. Embassy in Jordan’s “Women in Science Hall of Fame.”

Dr. Dajani’s academic journey benefitted from participation in two Fulbright programs. In 2000, she received a Fulbright Foreign Student award to pursue a Ph.D. in molecular biology at the University of Iowa. In 2012, she returned to the United States as a Fulbright Visiting Scholar to Yale University, where she studied the role of microRNA in human embryonic stem cell tumorgenesis. Fulbrighters are not only known for their highquality research but their commitment to making a positive impact on their communities. Outside of the lab, Dr. Dajani co-founded “We Love Reading,” a program to instill a love of reading among children in the Arab world. Since 2006, “We Love Reading” has established more than 4,400 libraries and trained more than 7,000 women to read aloud to children through a pay-it-forward system, reaching children in more than 55 different countries around the world. The program has also been established in many refugee camps. For “We Love Reading,” Dajani has won multiple awards, including the Library of Congress “Literacy Award Best Practices,” a STARS Foundation “Impact Award,” the Synergos “Arab World Social Innovator Award,” the Qatar Foundation “WISE Award,” the UNESCO “International Literacy Prize,” and recognition from IDEO.org.

Jose Vicente Siles, Ph.D

SPAIN TO UNITED STATES, 2010-2011

Jose V. Siles (Fulbright Visiting Scholar, 2010-2011) is an experienced terahertz component and circuit designer, having designed and tested world-record-breaking terahertz sources and mixer circuits up to 3THz for the French Space Agency, European Space Agency, the European Commission, and NASA Jet Propulsion Lab. His work supports applications across radioastronomy, planetary science, cosmology, radar imaging, terahertz communications, biomedicine, and cancer research.

As a Fulbright Post-Doctoral Fellow, Dr. Siles joined the Submillimeter-Wave Advanced Technology Group at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2010. Dr. Siles has leveraged his Fulbright experience in his role as Principal Investigator of several NASA-funded tasks. He is developing the next generation of high-spectral resolution submillimeter-wave instruments for astrophysics and planetary science, including the Astrophysics Stratospheric 2.5-m Telescope for High Spectral Resolution Observations at Submillimeter-wavelengths (ASTHROS) NASA balloon mission, scheduled to launch from Antarctica in December 2023. He is the first Spanish engineer awarded the “Lew Allen Award for Excellence” by NASA. Also a leader outside of the lab, Dr. Siles continues to give back to Fulbright, serving as the President of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Fulbright Association.

Kip Thorne, Ph.D

UNITED STATES TO FRANCE, 1966-1967

Kip Thorne (Fulbright U.S. Scholar to France, 1966-1967) is one of the world’s leading experts on the astrophysical implications of Einstein’s general theory of relativity, and a Nobel Laureate in Physics for “decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves.”

In 1966, Dr. Thorne received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award to France, where he taught theoretical physics at Les Houches Summer School of Theoretical Physics. Dr. Thorne’s scientific contributions, which focus on the general nature of space, time, and gravity, span the full range of topics in general relativity. In addition to his own research, Thorne has served as a mentor and thesis advisor for many leading theorists who now work on observational, experimental, or astrophysical aspects of general relativity.

Since 2009, Thorne has turned his efforts toward collaborations with artists, musicians, and filmmakers to inspire non-scientists and young people with “the beauty and power of science” (Nobelprize.org). These efforts include advising for Christopher Nolan’s film “Interstellar,” and production of a multimedia concert with Hans Zimmer, an illustrated book with painter Lia Halloran, and more.

For a list of all Fulbright alumni Nobel Laureates, please visit https://eca.state.gov/fulbright/fulbright-alumni/notable-fulbrighters/nobel-laureates.