Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Atomic, Molecular, or Optical Physics

To recognize doctoral thesis research of outstanding quality and achievement in atomic, molecular, or optical physics and to encourage effective written and oral presentation of research results. The award to be given annually consists of $2,500 and a certificate citing the contribution made by the recipient. All finalists will receive a travel stipend of $1000.

Establishment & Support

The award was established in 1992 by the Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics with sponsorship from members and friends of the Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics. The award is now endowed by M Squared Lasers.

Rules & Eligibility

With exceptions noted below, doctoral students at any university in the United States or abroad who have passed their thesis defense for the Ph.D. in the disciplines of atomic, molecular, or optical physics any time during the two calendar years preceding the DAMOP Annual Meeting at which the award is to be presented are eligible for the award. For the 2016 meeting, a person is eligible if the Ph.D. is completed in 2014 or 2015. A student who has won a thesis prize in another division or whose thesis advisor serves on the current Selection Committee is not eligible for an award. The student's thesis advisor nominates the student, and must be a member of the APS and DAMOP. A student may be a finalist in the competition only once. It is intended that the Thesis Prize be awarded to a single individual. Eligible non-finalists may only be renominated by submitting an entirely new package, even if it is the same as the original package. Renominations are NOT made automatically.

Nomination & Selection Process

Deadline: Thursday, December 1, 2016

Applications must be submitted to the chair of the DAMOP thesis prize committee (Alex Kuzmich, email: akuzmich@umich.edu) by December 1, 2016.

Nominations must be received by the Chair of the DAMOP Thesis Award Selection Committee (Alex Kuzmich, email: akuzmich@umich.edu) prior to the deadline for nominations on December 1, 2016. Nominations must be submitted as a single PDF file by the thesis advisor to the Chair of the Selection Committee in an email attachment. The nomination process is initiated by the thesis advisor. The nomination package consists of the following materials:

1. A nomination letter from the thesis advisor citing the specific contributions of the nominee and the significance of those contributions. The thesis advisor must be a member of the APS and DAMOP prior to submitting a nomination.

2. A letter from the department chair certifying the Ph.D. defense date. The defense date and final submission of the dissertation must occur in the two calendar years prior to the calendar year of the DAMOP meeting.

3. At least two additional letters of support seconding the nomination.

4. A manuscript prepared by the nominee describing the thesis research; the manuscript may not exceed 1,500 words (excluding figures and references).

5. An abstract prepared by the nominee that is suitable for publication in the DAMOP Bulletin; the abstract may not exceed 1,300 characters. The name of the thesis supervisor and the institution indicated in a footnote.

6. A copy of the candidate's curriculum vitae.

Receipt of submissions will be acknowledged by return email. Please contact the committee chair if an acknowledgement is not soon received. Once a nomination packet is submitted, updates to the nomination will be permitted up to the submission deadline, December 1, 2016 (please send a single new PDF file in this case). Anyone (who is not a member of the Thesis Award Selection Committee) may submit one nomination or seconding letter in any given year.


Serving a diverse and inclusive community of physicists worldwide is a primary goal for APS. Nominations of qualified women, members of underrepresented minority groups, and scientists from outside the United States are especially encouraged.

2016 Recipient

Adam Kaufman
University of Colorado and JILA, Boulder

Adam Kaufman



Past Recipients

2015: Norman Yao
2014: Thibault Peyronel
2013: Michael Foss-Feig
          Yaroslav Dudin
2012: Waseem Bakr
2011: Elmar Haller
2010: Kang-Kuen Ni
2009: Andrew Ludlow
          Javier von Stecher
2008: David Moehring
2007: Cindy Regal
2006: Brian Odom
2005: Ana María Rey
2004: James Thompson
          Markus Greiner
2003: Daniel Steck
2002: Brian DeMarco
2001: Thomas Weinacht
2000: Dan M. Stamper-Kurn
1999: Brett Esry
          Jens U. Noeckel
1998: Christopher S. Wood
1997: Paul A. Vetter, Barry C. Walker
1996: Aephraim M. Steinberg
1995: Brian Lemoff
1994: Dmitry Budker
1993: M. A. Kasevich