Press release

Spring 2019 American Physical Society Prizes and Awards Announced

October 23, 2018

The American Physical Society (APS) has announced the Society’s Spring 2019 prize and award recipients, and the 2018 Apker Award and Nicholson Medal recipients. This year’s honors include three new awards: the Richard A. Isaacson Award in Gravitational-Wave Science, recognizing contributions to the physics, astrophysics, or technology of gravitational-wave science; the Irwin Oppenheim Award, recognizing early career scientists who contribute to physics; and the Leo P. Kadanoff Prize, recognizing one or more scientists’ contributions to statistical or nonlinear physics.

With few exceptions, APS prizes and awards are open to all members of the scientific community in the U.S. and abroad. The nomination and selection procedure, involving APS-appointed selection committees, guarantees their high standards and prestige. These honors are highly regarded, and represent critical recognition from the recipients' most discerning audience, their peers.

“Recognizing exceptional contributions in physics is one of the wonderful roles of our American Physical Society,” said APS President Roger Falcone. “We share in the joy of the recipients, take the opportunity afforded by the award of a prize to understand a bit more about that science, and reaffirm our commitment to excellence and peer evaluation of scientific research.”

The new honorees are:

David Adler Lectureship Award in the Field of Materials Physics

Giulia Galli, University of Chicago
“For the invention of methods, especially for the enhancement of ab initio molecular dynamics, to understand, predict, and engineer the electronic and structural properties of materials.”

LeRoy Apker Award (2018)

Nicholas E. Sherman, University of California, Davis
"For outstanding undergraduate research in theoretical condensed matter and mathematical physics dealing with the subjects of quantum entanglement in mixed states, NMR in highly frustrated magnets and anyon dispersion in perturbed Toric Code models."

Eric S. Cooper, Pomona College
“For outstanding contributions towards understanding the adaptive significance of ballistichory by modeling and comparing the flight of seeds dispersed by Acanthaceae fruits.”

Distinguished Lectureship Award on the Applications of Physics

Cynthia Keppel, Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility
"For pioneering work in proton therapy and for the promotion of the applications of physics to both experts and non-experts."

Hans A. Bethe Prize

Ken'ichi Nomoto, University of Tokyo, Kavli Institute of Physics and Mathematics for the Universe (Kavli IPMU)
"For lasting contributions to our understanding of the nuclear astrophysics of the universe, including stellar evolution, the synthesis of new elements, the theory of core-collapse and thermonuclear supernovae, and gamma-ray bursts."

Tom W. Bonner Prize in Nuclear Physics

Barbara V. Jacak, University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory
"For leadership in the discovery and characterization of the quark-gluon plasma, especially her contributions to the PHENIX experiment and its explorations of jets as probes."

Edward A. Bouchet Award

Dr. Carlos O. Lousto, Rochester Institute of Technology
"For contributions to both numerical relativity, conducive to the solution of the binary black hole problem, and the understanding of the first detection of gravitational waves and service to the Hispanic scientific community, including the establishment of the Center for Gravitational Wave Astronomy, University of Texas at Brownsville in 2003."

Herbert P. Broida Prize

Marsha I. Lester, University of Pennsylvania
"For the development of innovative methods for generating and characterizing reactive intermediates using sophisticated laser techniques that elucidate important reaction pathways in atmospheric and combustion chemistry."

Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize

Elihu Abrahams, University of California, Los Angeles
Alexei L. Efros, University of Utah
Boris I. Shklovskii, University of Minnesota
“For pioneering research in the physics of disordered materials and hopping conductivity.”

Joseph A. Burton Forum Award

Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
"For distinguished application of her knowledge of physics to public service and increasing diversity in physics as Chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and for service on many government, charitable, and corporate boards and committees."

Davisson-Germer Prize in Atomic or Surface Physics

Randall Feenstra, Carnegie Mellon University
"For pioneering developments of the techniques and concepts of spectroscopic scanning tunneling microscopy."

Max Delbrück Prize in Biological Physics

Ken A. Dill, Stony Brook University
Jose Nelson Onuchic, Rice University
"For independent contributions to a new view of protein folding, from the introduction and exploration of simple models, to detailed confrontations between theory and experiment."

John H. Dillon Medal

Zahra Fakhraai, University of Pennsylvania
"For exceptional investigations of surface effects in polymer glasses and amyloid aggregation."

George E. Duvall Shock Compression Science Award

George T. (Rusty) Gray III, Los Alamos National Laboratory
"For pioneering contributions in dynamic constitutive and damage response of materials; for leadership in developing programs and tools to advance our understanding of materials and structures in response to high-strain-rate and shock deformation; and for leadership in the technical community."

Excellence in Physics Education Award

Steven Iona, University of Colorado / University of Denver
Laurie S. Langdon, University of Colorado, Boulder
Richard McCray, University of Colorado, Boulder
Valerie K. Otero, University of Colorado, Boulder
Steven Pollock, University of Colorado, Boulder
“For the development of the Learning Assistant (LA) model and the associated LA Alliance, which has enhanced physics teacher education and recruitment, supported undergraduate course transformation, and physics instructor professional development.”

Prize for a Faculty Member for Research in an Undergraduate Institution

Robert C. Forrey, Pennsylvania State University, Berks
“For exceptional engagement of undergraduate students and wide-ranging contributions to theoretical physics, including ultracold atomic and molecular collisions, matter wave optics, metallic clusters and nanoparticles, and molecular astrophysics.”

Einstein Prize

Abhay Ashtekar, Pennsylvania State University, State College
“For numerous and seminal contributions to general relativity, including the theory of black holes, canonical quantum gravity, and quantum cosmology.”

Herman Feshbach Prize in Theoretical Nuclear Physics

Barry R. Holstein, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
“For seminal theoretical studies of fundamental symmetries in nuclei, including radioactive nuclear decays, parity-violating nucleon-nucleon interactions, and chiral dynamics of mesons and baryons.”

Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics

Michel Gaudin, IPhT CEA Saclay
Francesco Calogero, University of Rome "La Sapienza"
Bill Sutherland, University of Utah
“For profound contributions to the field of exactly solvable models in statistical mechanics and many body physics, in particular the construction of the widely studied Gaudin magnet and the Calogero-Sutherland, Shastry-Sutherland, and Calogero-Moser models."

Richard A. Isaacson Award in Gravitational-Wave Science

Stanley E. Whitcomb, LIGO Laboratory
"For extraordinary contributions to the conceptualization, design, construction, commissioning, and operation of the LIGO detectors; and for his stewardship of the global gravitational wave community, including developing the partnership between LIGO and Virgo, and establishing LIGO-India."

Leo P. Kadanoff Prize

M. Cristina Marchetti, University of California, Santa Barbara
"For original contributions to equilibrium and non-equilibrium statistical mechanics, including profound work on equilibrium and driven vortex systems, and fundamental research and leadership in the growing field of active matter."

Joseph F. Keithley Award For Advances in Measurement Science

Zahid Hussain, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
“For the development of soft x-ray instrumentation such as monochromators and spectrometers for synchrotron radiation beamlines, leading to significant measurement improvements of angle resolved photoemission spectroscopy and resonant inelastic soft x-ray scattering.”

Rolf Landauer and Charles H. Bennett Award in Quantum Computing

Jonathan Home, ETH Zurich
“For the development and demonstration of trapped-ion quantum computing protocols, including Bell state stabilization by feedback control in mixed-ion chains, and the encoding of logical quantum states in the ion motion.”

Irving Langmuir Prize in Chemical Physics

Devarajan Thirumalai, University of Texas, Austin
"For the development of analytical and computational approaches to soft-matter systems and their application to the transitional behavior of supercooled fluids and glasses, folding dynamics of protein and RNA biopolymers, and functioning of molecular motors."

Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize

Katherine Freese, University of Michigan and Stockholm University
"For ground-breaking research at the interface of cosmology and particle physics, and her tireless efforts to communicate the excitement of physics to the general public."

Maria Goeppert Mayer Award

Alyson Brooks, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
“For contributions to theoretical astrophysics, in particular, the use of numerical hydrodynamic simulations compared with observations to elucidate the essential physics of galaxy formation.”

James C. McGroddy Prize for New Materials

Bogdan Andrei Bernevig, Princeton University/Max Planck Institute/Freie University
Claudia Felser, Max Planck Institute Chemical Physics of Solid
Xi Dai, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
“For the theoretical prediction, design and realization of non-magnetic and magnetic topological semi-metals and new types of topological insulators.”

Dwight Nicholson Medal for Outreach (2018)

Ray Jayawardhana, Cornell University
“For far-reaching, multi-faceted and impactful contributions as an educator and academic leader, including authoring popular books and articles about physics for adults and children, making frequent public speaking and media appearances, developing innovative outreach programs, and founding the Science Leadership Program.”

Lars Onsager Prize

Christopher Jarzynski, University of Maryland, College Park
“For seminal contributions to non-equilibrium thermodynamics and statistical mechanics that have had remarkable impact on experimental research in single-molecule and biological physics; of particular import is a celebrated exact relationship between the work expended in rapid out-of-equilibrium transformations and the free energy differences between the equilibrium initial and final states, engendering whole new fields of theoretical, numerical, and laboratory research, as well as groundbreaking work on the thermodynamics of small systems.”

Irwin Oppenheim Award

Todd R. Gingrich, Northwestern University
Jordan M. Horowitz, University of Michigan
"For the article, 'Proof of the finite-time thermodynamic uncertainty relation for steady-state currents,' published in Phys. Rev. E 96, 020103(R) (2017), which demonstrated significance, rigor, and broad impact in the general area of non-equilibrium thermodynamics."

Abraham Pais Prize for History of Physics

Helge Kragh, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen
"For influential contributions to the history of physics, especially analyses of cosmological theories and debates, the history of the quantum physics of elementary particles and the solid state, and biographical studies of Paul Dirac and Niels Bohr, and his early quantum atom."

W.K.H. Panofsky Prize in Experimental Particle Physics

Sheldon Leslie Stone, Syracuse University
"For transformative contributions to flavor physics and hadron spectroscopy, in particular through intellectual leadership on detector construction and analysis on the CLEO and Large Hadron Collider beauty experiments, and for the long-standing, deeply influential advocacy for flavor physics at hadron colliders."

Francis M. Pipkin Award

Tanya Zelevinsky, Columbia University
“For pioneering research on producing ultracold molecules confined in optical lattices and using them for precision spectroscopy, molecular clock techniques, and tests of fundamental physics.”

Earle K. Plyler Prize for Molecular Spectroscopy & Dynamics

Abraham Nitzan, University of Pennsylvania / Tel Aviv University
"For deep physical insights in the fields of surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy and molecular electronics."

Polymer Physics Prize

Ronald G Larson, University of Michigan
"For wide-ranging, multi-disciplinary contributions to understanding the structure, dynamics, and rheology of polymeric materials in melt, solution, glassy, mesomorphic, and multi-phase states, including viscoelastic instabilities, constitutive equations, alignment transitions, and phase behavior."

Henry Primakoff Award for Early-Career Particle Physics

Nhan Tran, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
“For wide-ranging contributions to the Compact Muon Solenoid experiment, including the development of a novel pileup subtraction method at the Large Hadron Collider, and the use of jet substructure for the analysis of high-energy collisions.”

I.I. Rabi Prize in Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics

Kang-Kuen Ni, Harvard University
“For seminal work on ultracold molecules, including original contributions to the understanding of chemical reactions in the quantum regime, deterministic creation of individual molecules with optical tweezers, and development of novel, high-precision techniques to interrogate and control the complete set of internal molecular resources.”

Aneesur Rahman Prize for Computational Physics

Sharon C. Glotzer, University of Michigan
“For innovative molecular dynamics simulations of the self-assembly of variously shaped particles which opened up new directions in soft matter and materials science research.”

Norman F. Ramsey Prize in Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics, and in Precision Tests of Fundamental Laws and Symmetries

Jun Ye, JILA, NIST and University of Colorado, Boulder
“For ground-breaking contributions to precision measurements and the quantum control of atomic and molecular systems, including atomic clocks.”

Jonathan F. Reichert and Barbara Wolff-Reichert Award

Heather J. Lewandowski, University of Colorado, Boulder
“For systematic and scholarly transformation of advanced laboratories in physics, for building leading assessment tools of laboratories, and for national service advancing our advanced laboratory educational community.”

J. J. Sakurai Prize

Lisa Randall, Harvard University
Raman Sundrum, University of Maryland, College Park
"For creative contributions to physics beyond the Standard Model, in particular the discovery that warped extra dimensions of space can solve the hierarchy puzzle, which has had a tremendous impact on searches at the Large Hadron Collider."

Arthur L. Schawlow Prize in Laser Science

Steven T. Cundiff, University of Michigan
"For pioneering contributions to the field of ultrafast laser spectroscopy, including optical multidimensional coherent spectroscopy applied electronic excitation in solids and atomic vapors, and the development and application of femtosecond frequency comb technology."

Early Career Award for Soft Matter Research

Aparna Baskaran, Brandeis University
“For pathbreaking advances in our understanding of the physics of soft materials out of equilibrium, especially active and granular matter.”

Leo Szilard Lectureship Award

Zia Mian, Princeton University
"For promoting global peace and nuclear disarmament particularly in South Asia, through academic research, public speaking, technical and popular writing and organizing efforts to ban nuclear weapons."

George E. Valley, Jr. Prize

Julia Mundy, Harvard University
“For the pico-engineering and synthesis of the first room-temperature magnetoelectric multi-ferroic material.”

John Wheatley Award

Federico Rosei, INRS
"For sustained leadership and service to the international physics community, in particular for developing global collaborations through projects and networks in China, Mexico and several African countries, and for exceptional mentoring efforts."

Robert R. Wilson Prize for Achievement in the Physics of Particle Accelerators

Toshiki Tajima, University of California, Irvine
“For the invention and leading the first realization of laser wakefield acceleration, which opened the way to compact acceleration applications such as ultrafast radiolysis, brilliant x-rays, intra-operative radiation therapy, wakefield beam dump, and high energy cosmic acceleration.”


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