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Murphy '04 wins Rhodes Scholarship

Bermuda native will study bioscience at Oxford University

Tucker Murphy '04 has been awarded a Rhodes Scholarship for Bermuda. He said he hopes to study for a master of science degree in integrative bioscience at Oxford University in England.

Tucker Murphy
Tucker Murphy '04

Murphy grew up snorkeling and collecting shells in Bermuda, and this, he says, focused his interests in evolutionary biology. While working on another island - Tierra del Fuego - between high school and college, he read Darwin's journals and explored beaches that contained artifacts of the Fuegian Indians. He arrived at Dartmouth committed to studying biology and anthropology.

"I was lucky at Dartmouth to encounter a number of passionate professors and coaches who encouraged independence," Murphy said. "They presented education and athletics as much more than just the pursuit of a grade or a race result, and as a chance to force the limits of your imagination and your will. I'm happy for the opportunity the Rhodes will allow me to continue this effort."

At Dartmouth, Murphy studied the research of noted evolutionary biologists Stephen Jay Gould and E.O. Wilson and received the anthropology department's Robert A. McKennan Prize in Anthropology for his freshman paper on Gould's theory of neoteny. Murphy also worked to bring scientific ideas to a broader audience. In this pursuit, he served as writer and associate editor of the Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science; he contributed to grant proposals in children's education as the "Crittercam Intern" at the National Geographic Society, and he volunteered at the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vt.

His interests spanned several disciplines at Dartmouth, and he received academic citations for distinguished work in Spanish literature and architecture as well as biology and anthropology. He participated on both the heavyweight crew team and the cross country ski team. More recently, Murphy completed a studio-based architecture course with Harvard Design School's Career Discovery Program. 

At Oxford, Murphy plans to combine his interests in biology and design in the field of biomimetics, which adapts naturally evolved structures, materials and surfaces for use by humans. According to Murphy, this design philosophy is gaining in popularity, particularly in England, as architects and biologists alike look to nature, not only for inspiration but also for efficient and economical solutions to design challenges. 

The Rhodes Scholarships were created in 1902 by the will of British philanthropist Cecil Rhodes. Criteria for selection include high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership and physical vigor.

By SUSAN KNAPP

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Last Updated: 12/17/08