Justin Jankunas Doctoral Dissertation Award in Chemical Physics

The Division of Chemical Physics (DCP) offers an annual award for the best doctoral dissertation in any area of chemical physics. Originally named the Doctoral Thesis Award in Chemical Physics and first awarded to Alexander J. White in 2015, it has since been renamed the Justin Jankunas Doctoral Dissertation Award in Chemical Physics. The renaming, established with friends, family, and colleagues of Justin Jankunas, honors his memory and work as a promising young chemical physicist at the beginning of a promising career.

The award consists of a check for $1,000, a certificate describing the achievements of the recipient, and a grant of up to $1,000 for the awardee to travel to the March APS meeting to receive the award and give an oral presentation describing his or her doctoral research. 

Establishment & Support

Justin Jankunas obtained his doctorate from Prof. Richard Zare at Stanford in 2013 and then worked with Prof. Andreas Osterwalder at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne until 2015. In this short period he published 19 papers in molecular reaction dynamics until his tragic death in a motorcycle accident in 2015. Justin's family, friends, and colleagues have established this award to encourage and recognize other promising chemical physicists.

A fundraising campaign has begun to establish an endowment of $50,000 to support the annual $1,000 award and related expenses. To help DCP achieve its fundraising goal, visit the campaign website. DCP will support the award initially until the funds are raised.

Rules & Eligibility

Eligible candidates should have passed their thesis defense during the 12 month period prior to the application deadline. The thesis advisor should verify that the defense occurred within this time frame. The nominee and thesis advisor must be members of DCP.

Nomination & Selection Process

Deadline: Monday, October 2, 2017

Applications should consist of;

  • an electronic copy of the nominee's thesis
  • a summary of up to 1,000 words (12 point font, in addition to figures, captions, and references)
  • the nominee's CV
  • a letter by the advisor, and a seconding letter
  • The nominee and thesis advisor must be members of DCP

All candidates are encouraged to submit a 12 minute oral presentation at the March meeting, while the award winner will give a 36 minute presentation at a special award session. Candidates are also encouraged to apply for a travel award of up to $500 (http://www.aps.org/units/dcp/awards/gsta.cfm) to defray part of the travel expenses. Up to five travel awards will be issued.

The nomination package specified above should be submitted via the Fluid Review website. To start a new or update a continuing nomination, please see the Prize & Award Nomination Guidelines.

2018 Selection Committee Members: Robert Gordon (Chair), Scott Anderson, Laura Gagliardi, Tim Zwier


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.

2018 Recipient

Marissa L. Weichman
University of California, Berkeley

Marissa Weichman



Past Recipients

2017: Yuval Shagam
2016: Peter Kraus