APS News

New APS Prize Targets Under-30 Physicists

George E. Valley, Jr.
George E. Valley, Jr.
The APS has established a new prize with a new mission: to recognize the achievements and the potential of a physicist under the age of 30. Named the George E. Valley, Jr. Prize in honor of a generous bequest from the estate of George E. Valley, Jr., the prize will be given every two years and will carry with it a cash award of $20,000, making it the largest single prize that the Society gives.

Nominations are now being solicited for the first recipient, who will be chosen by a selection committee consisting of the President and two immediate past-Presidents of the APS, as well as a chairperson to be elected by the APS Council. A fifth, non-voting, member of the committee will be George C. Valley, son of George E. Valley, Jr. and, like his father, a physicist. The Prize is open to candidates in any field of physics. The deadline for submission of nominations to the APS is July 1, 2001. Nominees must be less than 30 years of age at the time of their nomination.

George E. Valley, Jr. received his PhD in physics from the University of Rochester in 1939. He was named a National Research Fellow in nuclear physics in 1940 and was Project Supervisor and senior staff member of the Radiation Laboratory at MIT from 1941 to 1945. He was on the faculty at MIT from 1946 to 1974, was one of the founders of MIT Lincoln Laboratory, and was Chief Scientist of the Air Force in 1957-58. His areas of research included: Artificial Radioactivity, Mass Spectroscopy, Cosmic Rays, design of Radar Systems and invention of the SAGE Air Defense System. Valley developed the idea for the prize in discussions with then-APS Treasurer Harry Lustig in the years shortly before his death in 1999.

The prize was authorized by Council at its November meeting, and the bequest was received by the APS shortly thereafter. "This is an exciting new direction for the APS honors program," commented APS Treasurer Thomas McIlrath. "We anticipate receiving many outstanding nominations, and we hope the Prize will make an important difference to a young researcher with great potential early in his or her career."

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Editor: Alan Chodos
Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette