Justin Jankunas Doctoral Dissertation Award in Chemical Physics

This award recognizes doctoral thesis research of outstanding quality and achievement in chemical physics. Three finalists will be invited to the APS March meeting to present 24-minute talks based on their thesis research. The recipient will receive a $1,500 stipend, a certificate, travel reimbursement of up to $1,000, and a registration waiver. The two runners up will receive certificates, travel reimbursements up to $500, and registration waivers.

Rules and eligibility

Eligible candidates should have passed their thesis defense during the 12 month period prior to the nomination deadline. The thesis advisor should verify that the defense occurred within this time frame. The nominee and thesis advisor must be members of DCP.

Process and selection

Nominations should consist of;

  1. The APS Prizes and Awards nomination form (nominee’s contact information, thesis date)
  2. a summary of up to 1,000 words (12 point font, in addition to figures, captions, and references)
  3. the nominee's CV
  4. a letter by the advisor, and a seconding letter
  5. The nominee and thesis advisor must be members of DCP
  6. All candidates must submit a 24 minute oral presentation to the APS March Meeting.

Establishment and support

Originally named the Doctoral Thesis Award in Chemical Physics, this award was first awarded to Alexander J. White in 2015. It has since been renamed the Justin Jankunas Doctoral Dissertation Award in Chemical Physics. The renaming, established with friends, family, and colleagues of Justin Jankunas, honors his memory and work as a promising young chemical physicist at the beginning of a promising career.

Justin Jankunas obtained his doctorate from Prof. Richard Zare at Stanford in 2013 and then worked with Prof. Andreas Osterwalder at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne until 2015. In this short period he published 19 papers in molecular reaction dynamics until his tragic death in a motorcycle accident in 2015. Justin's family, friends, and colleagues have established this award to encourage and recognize other promising chemical physicists.

Recent recipients

Sohang Kundu

2024 recipient

For illuminating work using real-time path integral methods to reveal the interplay of electronic and vibrational dynamics in excitation energy transfer.

Benjamin L. Augenbraun

2023 recipient

For theoretical and experimental achievements in photon cycling and laser cooling of diatomic and polyatomic molecules.

Zeke Piskulich

2022 recipient

For the development of fluctuation theory to enable direct calculation of Arrhenius activation energies and volumes at a single temperature.

Minjung Son

2021 recipient

For the development of ultrabroadband multidimensional spectroscopy and its application to elucidate the carotenoid-mediated energy transfer pathways in photosynthetic light harvesting in plants.

Joonho Lee

2020 recipient

For ground-breaking contributions to the computational treatment of electron correlations in molecular electronic structure theory.

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.

Justin Jankunas Doctoral Dissertation Award in Chemical Physics

Nominations deadline
September 2, 2024
$1,500 stipend, a certificate, travel reimbursement of up to $1,000, and a registration waiver

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