The Heinlein Society has opened its eighth annual scholarship essay contest for the 2020-2021 academic year.
Three $2,500 scholarships will be awarded to undergraduate students of accredited 4-year colleges and universities —
- Virginia Heinlein Memorial Scholarship — Dedicated to a female candidate majoring in engineering, math, or biological or physical sciences.
- The Yoji Kondo Scholarship and Jerry Pournelle Scholarship — May be awarded to a candidate of any gender; in addition, “Science Fiction as literature” is an eligible field of study.
Applicants will need to submit a 500-1,000 word essay on one of several available topics:
a. How Robert Heinlein influenced your career choice. What Heinlein writings would you use to illustrate how he sparked your interest in science and technology?
b. Discuss the ‘Golden Age of SF’ and Robert Heinlein’s role in it.
c. Most of the Heinlein estate and literary legacy is devoted to commercial space activities (the mission of the Heinlein Prize Trust). Given that focus, consider Heinlein’s “The Man Who Sold the Moon”, and other works. Will our future expansion into space be government initiated, or private/commercial? Which is better? Which will ultimately be the way forward?
d. Robert Heinlein said “The golden age of science has yet to begin.” Evaluate this statement compared to your technical field.
e. Discuss the advantages to the human race of a permanent settlement on the Moon or Mars.
f. The expansion of social media has led to widespread placement of devices by which your movement and private conversations can be monitored. Social media has also accelerated the clustering of like-minded interests into largely non-interacting ‘tribes’—the so-called ‘metadata’ gathering. Can you find and comment on the Heinlein stories that predicted these phenomena?
g. How might advances in your chosen field of study affect how people live 50 years from now? What changes, good or bad, might society see?
Full guidelines and the application form are on the Society’s website. Winners will be announced on July 7, 2020.
Previous scholarship winners who will still be attending college in the 2020-2021 academic year as undergraduates are eligible to apply again, but they must choose a different essay topic than previously.