Alex Siegenfeld: A Name You Should Know

On Monday evening, I posted a brief story about actress Linda Fiorentino’s Westport house being on the market. Longtime “06880” reader and frequent commenter Nancy W. Hunter weighed in from her home in British Columbia: “06880’s name-dropping has become so, so tiresome.”

I haven’t heard her reaction to a couple of stories I’ve done since, on Mark Naftalin‘s induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and Kyle Martino joining “Top Chef” star Kristen Kish on a New York Times “36 Hours” TV venture.

Maybe Nancy has sworn off my gossip site forever. If so, too bad.

Nancy: This one’s for you.

Alex Siegenfeld

Alex Siegenfeld

You’ve probably never heard the name Alex Siegenfeld before. He’s not a TMZ/Page Six boldface name, despite winning (at 17 years old) a gold medal in the International Chemistry Olympiad.

Now Alex has done something even more impressive. The Westport resident and Hopkins School graduate — today a student at MIT, heading toward a Ph.D. in physics (experimental condensed matter) — has won a $250,000 grant from the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation.

It’s good for up to 5 years of graduate study (with the encouragement to pursue science “for the public good”).

Alex was 1 of 12 honorees. The original pool of over 800 applicants was whittled down to 150, for a 1st round of interviews with national leaders in science and technology. Each candidate was tested on knowledge of broad scientific principles.

50 finalists were then selected, for a 2nd in-depth interview.

Hertz_logo_115h_02Hertz Fellows are free to innovate in their doctoral studies. They are not bound by traditional research funding restrictions. They have complete financial independence, under the guidance of top professors and mentors.

Hertz Fellows have gone on to win Nobel Prizes, found over 200 companies, register more than 3,000 patents, head major universities, and hold senior positions in the U.S. military.

Take that, Linda Fiorentino, Mark Naftalin and Kyle Martino!

(Hat tip: Mark Mathias)

6 responses to “Alex Siegenfeld: A Name You Should Know

  1. That is very impressive indeed. One thing that made me curious: did Alex choose the Hopkins School over Staples because it has a stronger science department in his specific area of interest?

    Re Nancy, this is for you–an article featuring the accomplishments of your two brothers:

  2. Cherie Quain

    Hey Dan,

    This post makes me think you might be interested in doing an article about my father, Leonard Flom, M.D. who was recently inducted in the “Inventors Hall of Fame” for his work on Iris Identification (you can google it). I think only 500 people are in it, including Steve Jobs and the like. If so his contact info is He is now 87 and though retired from his ophthalmology practice, still teaches at NYU medical school (where he will be presenting a diploma to my niece, Julie Flom, his granddaughter, soon).

    Don’t tell him I told you. 🙂

    xoxo Sent from my iPad


    • Susan Hopkins

      Cherie, Enjoyed your post about your father. Did he, per chance, have an opthamology practice on the Post Road in Fairfield circa 1970 –> ?

  3. What? He doesn’t read “06880”?!

  4. Bonnie Scott Connolly

    Well played, Dan. Can’t wait to see if she comments.

  5. Bart Shuldman

    Dan. Great news about a Westporter. Sorry you had to start it with the mention of someone not living in Westport. Please keep these great stories coming.