Award for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Biological Physics

This award recognizes doctoral thesis research of outstanding quality and achievement in any area of experimental, computational, engineering, or theoretical Biological Physics, broadly construed, and to encourage effective written and oral presentation of research results, the Division of Biological Physics will present an award, to be given annually, consisting of $1,500, a certificate citing the contribution made by the Awardee, and a $500 travel allowance ($1000 international) and fee waiver to attend the subsequent March meeting and to present an invited talk based on the thesis work or an extension of that work. Award and travel monies will be presented following the talk.

Establishment & Support

This award was established in 2009 by the Division of Biological Physics and is sponsored by members and friends of the Division of Biological Physics. Biological Physics is one of the most rapidly growing, exciting and interdisciplinary branches of contemporary physics. To encourage the healthy development of this field, the Division of Biological Physics has established an annual award for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Biological Physics.

Rules & Eligibility

Doctoral students at any university in the United States or abroad who have passed their thesis defense for the Ph.D. in any areas of experimental, computational, engineering, or theoretical Biological Physics, broadly construed, any time from April 1st two years before the year in which the award is to be presented until March 31st in the year before the award is to be presented, are eligible for the award, except for those whose thesis advisors serve on the current Selection Committee. For example, for the 2017 award, the Ph.D. defense must be passed within the time frame of April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017.

The prize is to recognize the fundamentally interdisciplinary nature of biological physics, the applicant, advisor and degree awarded need not be in Physics, but may also be in any appropriate related area, including, but not limited to, Biomedical Engineering, Applied Mathematics, Applied Physics or Biological Physics, Biophysics, Biology, Mathematics, Biochemistry, Chemistry or Chemical Engineering. In the event that the Committee judges no submitted theses to be of sufficient quality, the Committee may elect not to present the award.

Nomination & Selection Process

Deadline: Friday, June 30, 2017

The nomination process is initiated by the thesis advisor. The nomination package consists of the following materials:

  1. A letter from the thesis advisor citing the specific contributions of the nominee and the significance of those contributions.
  2. A letter from the department chair and/or relevant program director certifying the date of the thesis defense.
  3. Two letters 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 suitable for publication in the Bulletin of the American Physical Society; the abstract may not exceed 1,300 characters. The name of the thesis supervisor and the institution should be indicated in a footnote.
  6. A full curriculum vitae of the nominee including a publication list.

Nominations are limited to one per year per nominator. Writers of seconding letters may only submit one seconding letter per year.

To start a new or update a continuing nomination, please see the Prize & Award Nomination Guidelines.



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.

2017 Recipients

David Reid Jacobson
JILA, NIST/University of Colorado, Boulder

Pierre Alexandre Haas
DAMTP/University of Cambridge

Past Recipients

2016: Robert Blackwell
2015: Quan Wang
2014: Lei Dai
2013: Shiladitya Banerjee
2012: Timothy Sanchez
2011: Siyuan Steven Wang
2010: Erez Lieberman-Aiden
2009: Felix Campelo Aubarell
          Jeffrey R. Moffitt