About the John N. Bahcall Physics Award

In 2009, Drs. Enrico Ramírez-Ruíz (UCSC) and Neta Bahcall (Princeton U.) established the John Bahcall Award for top Mexican physics students to spend a summer studying astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Bahcall, who died in 2005, was an eminent astrophysicist at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., where Enrico hold a postdoctoral fellowship.
The program is managed by the non-profit organization “Fundación Hertel” in Mexico, which organizes a national physics competition every year to select the winners of the John Bahcall (UCSC) and the Leon Lederman (Fermi Lab) Awards.

Since 2009, eleven students from Mexico and Latin America have been awarded summer research programs, and seven different UCSC faculty members have been involved in supervising or co-supervising them.

Read about the Bahcall Physics Award establishment here

Former winners:

  • 2009: Diana Madera (Universidad de Zacatecas). Supervised by Enrico Ramírez-Ruíz, Laura Lopez and Tesla Jeltema.  
  • 2010: Rodolfo Navarrete (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico). Supervised by Enrico Ramírez-Ruíz.
  • 2011: Diego Gonzalez (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico).  Supervised by Enrico Ramírez-Ruíz.
  • 2012: David Aguilera (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico). Supervised by Enrico Ramírez-Ruíz.
  • 2013: Alejandro Vigna Gómez ( Universidad Autonoma de San Luis Potosi).  Supervised by Enrico Ramírez-Ruíz and Mark Krumholz.
  • 2014: Martín Velázquez. (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México). Supervised by Enrico Ramírez- Ruíz
  • 2015: Atalia Navarro Boullosa (Universidad de Guanajuato). Supervised by Enrico Ramírez-Ruíz and Gabriela Lopez
  • 2016:  Priscila Camacho Olachea (Universidad Autonoma de Baja California).  Supervised by Enrico Ramírez-Ruíz.
  • Other participants of the summer program

    • 2011: Rodrigo Sacahui (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico). Supervised by Robert Johnson and Bill Atwood.
    • 2011: Paola Altamirano  (Universidad de Honduras). Supervised by Enrico Ramírez-Ruíz
    • 2012: Anahi Caldu Primo (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico). Supervised by Raja Guha Thakurta.
    • 2012: Andres Suarez Madrigal  (Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey. Supervised by Mark Krumholz.

About the Sponsors


Enrico Ramírez-Ruíz is a profesor in the Astrophysics and Astronomy Department at the University of California Santa Cruz. He did his undergraduate studies at UNAM in México and then went to the University of Cambridge for graduate school. Enrico was the first recipient of the John Bahcall Fellowship, established after Bahcall’s death to support outstanding postdoctoral scholars at the Institute. He is one of the most recognised astrophysicist worldwide, and as part of his compromise to mexican society, he wants to provide other talented mexican students with early career opportunities to develop their full potential.


Neta_BahcallNeta Bahcall is professor of astrophysics at Princeton University, where she is the director of the undergraduate program in astrophysics. N. Bahcall  is John’s N. Bahcall widow, and inspired by Enrico’s career she helps other Mexican students to succeed.