The Heinlein Society has opened its thirteenth annual scholarship essay contest for the 2024 – 2025 academic year.
Four $4,000 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 Robert A. Heinlein Scholarship, Yoji Kondo Scholarship and Jerry Pournelle Scholarship — May be awarded to a candidate of any gender.
There is one important change from last year — they are no longer accepting incoming freshmen for the scholarships. Applicants must be entering their sophomore, junior, or senior year.
The scholarships are open to residents of any country. The person’s major must be Engineering, Math, or Physical or Biological Sciences. Applicants will need to submit a 500-1,000 word essay on one of several available topics:
A. How did Robert Heinlein influence your career choice? What Heinlein writings would you use to illustrate how he sparked your interest in science and technology?
B. 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?
C. Robert Heinlein said “The Age of Science has not yet opened.” Evaluate this statement compared to your technical field. Do you expect to see this golden age in your lifetime?
D. Heinlein is credited for inventing, or inspiring, many items we now take for granted, including waterbeds and cellphones. Using specific examples from his writings, share how his projections became realities in modern life.
E. Heinlein has been criticized periodically for his depictions of female characters. Is this a fair criticism, or merely a reflection of how society has changed in seventy years? Discuss his depiction and treatment of females, using characters from at least two different novels as examples.
F. Heinlein said, “Specialization is for Insects.” Specialists are, of course, necessary. However, many scientific breakthroughs have been the result of collabrative efforts. How might some knowledge of other disciplines benefit you in your chosen field?
The deadline to apply is April 1. Full guidelines and the application form are on the Society’s website. The winners will be announced on July 7, 2024.
Previous applicants, including winners, may enter again, but must write on a different topic than their previous entry.