PLATTEVILLE — A Harvard University student from Platteville died Sept. 25.
Philip Streich, 21, was found dead on his family’s farm near Platteville.
The Harvard Crimson, the Harvard student newspaper, described Streich as “At times an enthusiastic entrepreneur, a scientific prodigy, a political activist, a record producer, and a grandiose party host. … Friends said [Sept. 30] that he will be remembered not only for his impressive accolades but also for serving as a socially unifying force for his freshman class.”
Streich was born in Princeton, N.J. His parents, Joel and Amanda, were executives for J.P. Morgan in New York, until the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The Streichs moved to the Platteville area when he was 10. He was homeschooled starting in seventh grade, and began taking science and math classes at UW–Platteville when he was 14.
Streich was profiled as a “nano entrepreneur” in the December 2008 issue of Discover Magazine. Streich and UW–Platteville chemistry Prof. James Hamilton discovered how to prevent nanotubes — microscopic carbon cylinders used for bulletproof vests and touchscreens — from clumping by dissolving them in a solvent. Streich built a spectrometer to determine the nanotubes’ chemical characteristics to discover which solvents would work.
Streich won $100,000 in scholarship money. He then won another $50,000 for a nanotech startup, Graphene Solutions, in the 2008 Governor’s Business Plan Contest.
“I really credit my parents’ support for allowing me to try homeschooling,” said Streich in Discover. “If I had been in the regular school system, I doubt any of this would have developed.”
Streich also played piano and guitar, and cofounded a record company, 91 Records.
“It’s unbelievably exciting to be in the lab and to be able to go from ideas in your head and equations in the textbook to building equipment and getting results and data that seem to make sense,” Streich said in a 2008 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story.
Streich is survived by his parents, Joel and Amanda, brother Peter and sister Caroline.
A memorial service will be held in Princeton, N.J. Donations can be made to the Philip V. Streich Memorial Fund at philipstreich.last-memories.com.