William Lopes: A Science Prodigy

They say it's the quiet ones you have to watch. If this advice is true, then William Lopes has been capturing the attention of his teachers for years. With an incredible work ethic, William has excelled in anything he has pursued, was a scholastic chess star and first made National Master in 1998.

This past Spring the 22-year old native of Holyoke, Mississippi graduated with a 3.9/4.0 grade average from the prestigious
University of Chicago earning degrees in both mathematics and physics. Getting into "U of C" is difficult enough, but the unassuming young man took the hallowed ivory tower by storm.

William Lopes. Copyright © 2002, Williston Northamption School.

William Lopes

Coming to U of C, William definitely "had game." William's father proudly recounts parts of his son's sterling résumé… mostly from his time at the exclusive Williston Northampton School in Massachusetts.

A perfect 1600 college board total; a national ranking as a teen chess player (he taught himself to play); reading at the age of 2 and doing algebra at 4 and 5; a perfect score on a national Latin exam; ranking 15th in the nation on a physics test as a high school sophomore even though he had never had a physics class.

The above statement appeared in an article penned by
Nancy Moffett of the Chicago Sun-Times featuring William. In this article, he received fulsome praise from one of his main professors, Paul Sally who describes William's academic abilities as "stunning." Professor Sally ranks him in the top five of students that he has taught in the last 20 years. University officials has touted him to be one of the "most brilliant math students in recent years," and have announced that Lopes has won the $25,0000 Churchill Scholarship which includes a year of study at England's University of Cambridge.

William is not a tightly wound as one would be lead to believe and still enjoys watching "The Simpsons" in his spare time. Hopefully, this young man will continue to play chess because it has been proven that chess and science is a winning combination! William ultimately plans to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics with the possibility of a career in academia. Do well William!


Read Nancy Moffett's, "No Math Problem: It's Creative Fun for Scholarship Winner."

Read University of Chicago Press Story on William Lopes.


Editor's Note: I met William Lopes at the 2001 Chicago Open. He was in-between moves and I simply introduced myself and asked him his name. Very calm persona. Didn't see any of his games, but now I'll take a look!

Posted by The Chess Drum: 18 July 2002