APS News

Heckman, Hodas Capture 2004 APS Apker Award

HeckmanJonathan Heckman
Nathan Oken Hodas
Two undergraduates, one from Princeton and the other from Williams College, have been chosen as the recipients of the 2004 LeRoy Apker Award of the APS.

The Award is given annually for outstanding research accomplishments to two students, one from a PhD-granting institution, and one from an institution that does not offer the PhD. The nominees are narrowed to six finalists (See the November 2004 issue) and the recipients are determined after a day of interviews of the finalists by the selection committee.

Jonathan Heckman of Princeton receives the Award for research at a PhD granting institution. His senior thesis, in an active area of string theory, was done under the supervision of Steven Gubser, and is entitled "Large R-charged Sectors of the Ads/CFT Correspondence."

At Princeton, Heckman received the physics department's Kusaka Memorial Award for undergraduate research and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi. He is currently pursuing a PhD in theoretical high-energy physics at Harvard University.

The Award for research at a non-PhD institution goes to Nathan Oken Hodas of Williams College. He graduated with Highest Honors in Physics, and was awarded the Howard P. Stabler Prize in Physics.

At Williams, he engaged in several research projects in theoretical biophysics with his advisor, Daniel Aalberts. His work included developing a polymer physics model of single-stranded stacking in nucleic acids, creating a fast RNA binding algorithm, and explaining asymmetries in the tertiary structure of RNA pseudoknots.

He also conducted summer research with Prof. Anand Jagota, now at Lehigh University, creating an interactive, real-time, multi-lane highway traffic simulation.

He is currently pursuing his PhD at Caltech, where he was awarded an Institute Fellowship. He plans on continuing his research in biophysics.

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Editor: Alan Chodos
Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette