Dwight Nicholson Medal for Outreach

Nominations are open
Chandralekha Singh, 2022 recipient
Chandralekha Singh, 2022 recipient

This award recognizes the humanitarian aspect of physics and physicists created through public lectures and public media, teaching, research, or science related activities. Recognition consists of a stipend of $3,000, Nicholson medal, and a certificate which includes the citation for which the recipient has been recognized. Up to $1,500 will be available for the recipient's travel expenses to the meeting at which the Medal is presented. It will be presented annually.

Rules and eligibility

The Nicholson Medal for Outreach shall be awarded to a physicist who either through public lectures and public media, teaching, research, or science related activities,

  1. has successfully stimulated the interest and involvement of the general public on the progress in physics, or
  2. has created special opportunities that inspire the scientific development of students or junior colleagues, or has developed programs for students at any level that facilitated positive career choices in physics, or
  3. has demonstrated a particularly giving and caring relationship as a mentor to students or colleagues, or has succeeded in motivating interest in physics through inspiring educational works.

Nominations will be considered for three review cycles provided the nominator re-certifies the nomination before the next deadline.

Process and selection

The nomination must include:

  • A letter of not more than 5,000 characters evaluating the qualifications of the nominee(s).

In addition, the nomination should include:

  • A biographical sketch.
  • A list of the most important publications.
  • At least two, but not more than four, seconding letters.
  • Up to five reprints or preprints.

Establishment and support

The Nicholson Medal was established in 1994 by the Division of Plasma Physics and the Forum on Physics and Society. It was originally named the Nicholson Medal for Humanitarian Service, and is currently administered by the Forum on Outreach and Engaging the Public. The Medal is sponsored by the friends of Dwight Nicholson, and through a generous gift from Professor Herb Berk, the Medal was awarded with a stipend of $2,000 from Spring 2018 through 2021. Beginning in 2022, the Medal is awarded with a stipend of $3,000.

Recent recipients

Chandralekha Singh

2022 recipient

For work in broadening access to physics through research and removing barriers to success in the field faced by marginalized groups and how to overcome them, by addressing those challenges directly through meaningful, research-based action.

Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz

2021 recipient

For innovations in mentoring, such as the Lamat Program, all of which have demonstrated how members of historically marginalized populations can thrive, lead, and advance scientific enterprise in astronomy and related fields.

R. Michael Barnett

2020 recipient

For a lifetime of innovations in outreach bringing the discoveries and searches of particle physicists and cosmologists to multitudes of students and lay-people around the world.

Lucy Fortson

2019 recipient

For extraordinary work in bringing the excitement and discovery of scientific research to the public through leadership of the Zooniverse project.

Ray Jayawardhana

2018 recipient

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.

See all recipients

The membership of APS is diverse and global, and the nominees and recipients of APS Honors should reflect that diversity so that all are recognized for their impact on our community. Nominations of members belonging to groups traditionally underrepresented in physics, such as women, LGBT+ scientists, scientists who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), disabled scientists, scientists from institutions with limited resources, and scientists from outside the United States, are especially encouraged.

Nominees for and holders of APS Honors (prizes, awards, and fellowship) and official leadership positions are expected to meet standards of professional conduct and integrity as described in the APS Ethics Guidelines. Violations of these standards may disqualify people from consideration or lead to revocation of honors or removal from office.

Dwight Nicholson Medal for Outreach

Nominations deadline
June 3, 2024
Service and teaching
APS Forum on Outreach & Engaging the Public (FOEP)

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