Frances Hellman, University of California, Berkeley

Vice President

Educational History

  • Postdoctoral Member of Technical Staff, AT&T Bell Laboratories (1985-1987)
  • Ph.D. Applied Physics, Stanford University (1985)
  • B.A. Physics, Dartmouth College (1978)

URL for Full Bio or CV

Top 5 Honors, Awards, or Recognition

  • Joseph F. Keithley Award For Advances in Measurement Science
  • Fellow, American Physical Society
  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts & Sciences
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Dartmouth College
  • National Merit Scholar

Most Recent APS Volunteer History

  • APS Executive Board, Committee on Corporate Reform, Budget Committee, Committee on Committees
  • Divisional Counselor & Executive Committee, Division of Condensed Matter Physics (DCMP)
  • Chair & Executive Committee, Topical Group on Magnetism and its Applications (GMAG)
  • Chair & Executive Committee, Division of Materials Physics (DMP)
  • Member, APS Panel on Public Affairs, APS Committee on the Status of Women in Physics, various prize and fellowship committees

Membership in Other Societies

  • LIGO (Laser Interferometric Gravitational Observatory)
  • American Chemical Society

Other Relevant Experience

  • Executive Board, NRC Board on Physics and Astronomy; Program Co-chair, advisory committees, Magnetism and Magnetic Materials (MMM) and INTERMAG Conferences; Scientist in Residence, San Francisco Exploratorium; Advisory Committee, NSF MPS; Local Science Boards


Advocating for and supporting others to develop and realize their research and educational visions will underlie my approach to the presidency if elected. The APS Strategic Plan: 2019 eloquently details the many aspects of this goal, and I will work tirelessly to implement these plans. I will advocate for physics and science with Congress and funding agencies on issues including funding for research, education, diversity and inclusion in science, international engagement, and policy issues such as visas and other legislative topics. I will work to help APS members conduct groundbreaking research and communicate this research with the public. I will work with APS to advance the careers of young physicists as well as physicists at all career stages and in all types of careers.

I will work to increase inclusion in physics by those currently underrepresented. I am deeply committed to diversity, inclusivity, and equity, and have supervised 22 theses and 65 undergraduate research projects, with 36% women and 10% underrepresented minorities; if elected, I look forward to working closely with APS staff and members on educational opportunities, outreach, and diversity.

It is critical to enable members of the public who find physics intimidating to instead find it inspiring and within their grasp. I will work with the APS to increase the effectiveness of our communications that science, and specifically physics, provides answers to important questions and challenges facing the world. I have engaged with students and the public, through teaching for 30 years at the University of California (first UCSD, then Berkeley) and through participation in outreach activities including the San Diego Elementary Institute of Science, the San Francisco Exploratorium, and UC Cosmos.

I have served APS in many roles, including the APS Executive Board, DCMP Councilor, DMP and GMAG Chair lines, POPA, CSWP, and have served on the NSF MPSAC, NRC Board on Physics and Astronomy, and the DOE DMSE Council. I was Physics Department Chair (2007-2013) and Dean of Mathematical and Physical Sciences (since 2015) while maintaining an active research group. I have long been an advocate of APS journals and support their new approaches to address the financial challenges presented by open access. I am a member of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and have served on many national lab and academic oversight committees.

Through my research, teaching, and public service roles, I have a great appreciation for the breadth of physics represented by APS, including its industrial side. I am an experimental condensed matter and materials physicist, APS Fellow, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, APS Keithley Award winner, and passionate about understanding the physics of novel magnetic, semiconducting, and superconducting materials. I have contributed to optical, soft condensed matter, and molecular physics and fusion research, and recently joined the LIGO gravitational wave collaboration, working to reduce noise in mirror coatings.

I would be honored to have the opportunity to serve in the APS presidential line and will diligently work for the physics community at both the national and international level.

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Frances Hellman