13. February 2019

Rhodes Scholarship for Bonn student Rhodes Scholarship for Bonn student

University of Bonn mathematics student Peter Holderrieth is awarded a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship.

University of Bonn student Peter Holderrieth is one of two German students to be awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to study at the University of Oxford starting in fall 2019. The Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest and one of the most prestigious international scholarship programs. Along with funding postgraduate studies at Oxford, the scholarship offers a program of special events, retreats and networking opportunities to its scholarship holders. Nearly 8,000 Rhodes Scholars have gone on to serve at the forefront of government - such as US President Bill Clinton -, education, the arts, commerce, research and other sectors.

Peter Holderrieth
Peter Holderrieth - at the Hausdorff Research Institute for Mathematics at the University of Bonn. © Photo: Uni Bonn

Peter Holderrieth (21 years old) is a bachelor student of mathematics at the University of Bonn and is particularly interested in probability theory. He is a tutor at the Mathematical Institute and part of the University of Bonn’s Honors Program for talented students. Last year, he decided he wanted to do his masters at Oxford University and starting looking for scholarships and funding support. 

"When I read about the Rhodes Scholarship, I thought that is exactly what I want. You have to be excellent academically but also passionate about social and technological challenges of our time."

The criteria for becoming a Rhodes Scholar goes beyond academic excellence, it seeks out "young leaders of outstanding intellect and character who are motivated to engage with global challenges, committed to the service of others and show promise of becoming value-driven, principled leaders for the world’s future."


Peter Holderrieth at the Hausdorff Research Institute for Mathematics. 

Next to his studies, Peter Holderrieth swims, plays guitar and composes music. Already at a young age, his first orchestral composition was debuted on stage with the support of his school teacher Claus Kühner. He has less time now during his studies, but he did manage to perform one of his new pieces "Hoffnungsschimmer (glimmer of hope)" at the University of Bonn’s Mathematics department Christmas party (listen to the recording on SoundCloud). "I make music because it is the opposite of mathematics. It is emotional and doesn’t have rules like math does. I applied to be part of a college with a great musical society at Oxford. I hope it works out." Naturally, the character letter of recommendation Peter Holderrieth needed to apply for the scholarship came from his high school music teacher. The other letters of recommendation came from his professors Andreas Eberle, Barbara Niethammer und Wolfgang Lück.

As an intern at the German Parliament and as a scholar of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and German Academic Scholarship Foundation, he pursues his interest in philosophy and politics.

When asked if he will come back to Bonn, Peter Holderrieth says with a smile: "I come from southern Germany and specifically decided to study in Bonn because of its outstanding reputation in mathematics. I received an excellent and solid education here and feel well prepared, for which I am grateful. If I will return is open, who knows! I really enjoyed my time here."

The Rhodes Trust, based at the University of Oxford, brings together and develops exceptional people from all over the world, and in all fields of study. Each year two German students are awarded a scholarship. This is the first year 100 new scholarships will be awarded after a number of years of expansion.

Rhodes Scholar Peter Holderrieth
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