LeRoy Apker Award

The LeRoy Apker Award recognizes outstanding achievements in physics by undergraduate students, and provides encouragement to students who have demonstrated great potential for future scientific accomplishment. Two awards are presented each year, one to a student from a PhD granting institution, and one to a student from a non-PhD granting institution. The award consists of $5,000 for the recipient, $5,000 for their undergraduate institution's physics department to support undergraduate research, a certificate, and reimbursement for travel to an APS meeting to give an invited talk.

Six finalists are selected to present their research for the Apker Award Selection Committee. Each of the finalists will receive an honorarium of $2,000, $1,000 for their undergraduate institution’s physics department to support undergraduate research, reimbursement for travel to the selection meeting, and a certificate.

Rules and eligibility

Nominations are open to students at colleges and universities in the United States who were enrolled as undergraduates during at least part of the twelve-month period preceding the submittal deadline. Only one graduate may be nominated per department. The candidate should have completed or be completing the requirements for an undergraduate degree with an excellent academic record and should have demonstrated exceptional potential for scientific research by an original contribution to physics. If a candidate is not selected, they may be renominated for this award provided all other eligibility criteria are still met. In this case a new nomination package must be submitted.

Process and selection

The nomination should include:

  • a letter of nomination from the head of the physics department
  • an official or unofficial pdf copy of the student's academic transcript
  • the nominee's contact information
  • the student's original contribution, such as a manuscript or reprint of a research publication or senior thesis
  • a 1,000-word summary thereof, written by the student
  • two letters of recommendation from physicists who know the candidate's individual contribution to the work submitted

Selection Committee

  • Hao Shi (Chair)
  • Tennille Presley (Vice Chair)
  • Samuel Cho
  • Derek Kimball
  • Ruchika Dhawan

Establishment and support

The award was established as a memorial to LeRoy Apker through an endowment donated by Jean Dickey Apker.

Recent recipients

Cailin Plunkett

2023 recipient

For the development of a novel method to compute survey sensitivity to accreting protoplanets.

Denisse Córdova Carrizales

2023 recipient

For the development of a new method to intercalate Li into thin films of indium tin oxide.

Adam Dionne

2022 recipient

For the development of a novel experimental and theoretical framework to establish a new understanding of nutrient dispersal and transport in Physarum polycephalum.

Matthew Cufari

2022 recipient

For verifying the Hills Mechanism as a viable method to generate repeating partial tidal disruption events.

Caelan Brooks

2021 recipient

For the discovery of distinct dynamical regimes for coherent ultracold atoms confined in a ring-shaped lattice potential; and for developing a statistical model that depicts the formation of phenotypic patterns associated with bacterial biofilm growth.

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.

LeRoy Apker Award

Nominations deadline
June 3, 2024
Early career and students

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