The Heinlein Society has opened its tenth annual scholarship essay contest for the 2021-2022 academic year. Three $3,000 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 advantages to the human race of a permanent settlement on the Moon or Mars.
c. Biologist J.B.S. Haldane once wrote “I have no doubt that in reality the future will be vastly more surprising than anything I can imagine. Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.” Find, discuss, and comment on one episode in your STEM field in the past 50 years that you find surprising.
d. Robert Heinlein said “The golden age of science has yet to begin.” Evaluate this statement compared to your technical field. Do you expect to see this golden age in your lifetime?
e. Discuss how Heinlein has influenced modern science fiction and fantasy.
f. What are the structural, procedural, and operational limitations of computer simulations of which a practitioner or user must be acutely aware? Discuss with respect to your career field.
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?
The deadline to apply is April 1. 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 2021-2022 academic year as undergraduates are eligible to apply again, but they must choose a different essay topic than previously.