Carl E. Anderson Division of Laser Science Dissertation Award

To recognize doctoral research in the Laser Science area and to encourage effective written and oral presentation of research results. The award consists of $1,000 and a certificate citing the contribution made by the recipient. The finalists will present their work at a special session of the Laser Science conference (October 17-21, 2016, Rochester, NY).

Establishment & Support

This award was established in 2013 by the American Physical Society (APS) Division of Laser Science (DLS) and endowed by Charlotte Anderson in 2015 in memory of her husband Carl E. Anderson.

Rules & Eligibility

Doctoral students at any university in the United States or abroad who have passed their dissertation defense for the Ph.D. any time during the three calendar years preceding the application June 1st deadline and who are members of DLS are eligible for the award. A student may be a finalist in the competition only once. Eligible non-finalists from prior years may re-apply by submitting an entirely new package, which may be the same as the original package. Applications are NOT reconsidered automatically.

The research recognized by this dissertation award may include basic research, research with industrial applications, or both. Industrial applications were the primary interest of Carl E. Anderson. The topic must be appropriate for DLS — i.e., involves a novel application of the light-matter interaction, broadly construed and encompassing emerging new optical techniques for science, the science uncovered by new laser capabilities, and the physics of coherent light sources. Topics employing well-established laser techniques to novel systems or problems in other areas are not appropriate.

Nomination & Selection Process

Deadline: Thursday, June 15, 2017

Applicants for the 2016 competition must submit an abstract for a regular contributed talk to the Frontiers in Optics/Laser Science conference (http://www.frontiersinoptics.com/) and check the box to opt in to the Carl E. Anderson Division of Laser Science Dissertation Award competition. Late applicants, please disregard this requirement, and include a 2-page abstract with your application below, instead.

In addition, the following materials must be submitted as a single PDF file to dlsdissertationaward@aps.org as an email attachment.

  1. A letter from the research advisor, who must be a DLS member, citing the specific contributions of the applicant and the significance of those contributions.
  2. A letter from the department chair certifying the date of the defense.
  3. At most two letters seconding the application.
  4. A summary of the dissertation prepared by the applicant, not to exceed 1,500 words excluding figures and references.
  5. A copy of or web link to the dissertation.

All nomination materials will be treated confidentially and viewed only by the Selection Committee. Any individual may submit at most one nominating or seconding letter in any given year. The finalists will be chosen by the Dissertation Award Selection Committee based on the quality of the research and the written presentation. Selection Committee members who have mentored or co-authored with any candidate will recuse themselves from selection of finalists or awardees as appropriate. The finalists will present their work at a special Dissertation Award Session of the Laser Science meeting. After consideration of the oral presentations, the Selection Committee will choose the recipient of the award. The winner will be announced at the DLS banquet. A $750 travel stipend will be provided to all finalists. Applicants who are not selected as finalists will be considered for regular oral or poster presentation at the meeting.


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.

2015 Recipient

Yang Zhao
Stanford University

Past Recipients

2014: Ido Kaminer