Leo Szilard Lectureship Award

To recognize outstanding accomplishments by physicists in promoting the use of physics for the benefit of society in such areas as the environment, arms control, and science policy. The lecture format is intended to increase the visibility of those who have promoted the use of physics for the benefit of society. The award consists of $5,000, a certificate citing the contributions of the recipient, plus $2,000 travel expenses for lectures given by the recipient at an APS meeting and at two or more educational institutions or research laboratories in the year following the award. The lectures should be especially aimed at physicists early in their careers.

Rules and eligibility

Any living physicist is eligible. 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

This annual award was established in 1974 by the Forum on Physics and Society as a memorial to Leo Szilard in recognition of his concern for the social consequences of science. The award was endowed in 1998 by donations from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Energy Foundation, the David and Lucille Packard Foundation and individuals. It was also expanded to a lectureship format to promote awareness of the application of physics to social problems and to increase the visibility of those engaged in such activities.

Recent recipients

Robert J. Budnitz

2024 recipient

For outstanding leadership in formulating and guiding the US Nuclear Regulatory Research program in areas of reactor safety, waste management, and fuel-cycle safety, and for significantly advancing seismic probabilistic risk assessments as applied to nuclear power worldwide.

Laura Grego

2023 recipient

For significant, influential analyses of critical issues in international security and arms control, especially in the areas of missile defense, space weapons, and space security; for sustained activities educating students, colleagues, policymakers, and the public about these issues.

Michael E. Mann

2022 recipient

For distinguished contributions to the public's understanding of climate science controversies, and to how our individual and collective actions can mitigate climate change.

Steve Fetter

2021 recipient

For seminal contributions to two US administrations' efforts to minimize the threat of nuclear war, for helping to establish nuclear archeology as a viable and effective method for supporting arms control and countering proliferation, and for contributing expert analysis leading to the UN General Assembly's adoption of the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty.

France A. Cordova

2020 recipient

For visionary and stellar impacts as an astrophysicist and leader on the public understanding and appreciation of science, on science and technology policy, on broadening participation in science and engineering, and on enabling and celebrating the benefits of science—especially physics—to society.

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.

Leo Szilard Lectureship Award

Nominations deadline
July 1, 2024
Service and teaching

Join your Society

If you embrace scientific discovery, truth and integrity, partnership, inclusion, and lifelong curiosity, this is your professional home.