Andrei Sakharov Prize

This prize recognizes outstanding leadership and achievements of scientists in upholding human rights. The Prize consists of $10,000 and an allowance for travel to the meeting of the Society at which the Prize will be presented. It is intended that the Prize be awarded biennially, at a general meeting of the American Physical Society.

Rules and eligibility

This Prize normally will be awarded to one or more physicists, but scientists in other fields may be eligible if the selection committee feels their qualifications are appropriate. Nominations will be considered for two review cycles provided the nominator re-certifies the nomination before the next deadline.

Process and selection

The nomination package 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 Sakharov Prize is named in recognition of the courageous and effective work of Andrei Sakharov on behalf of human rights, to the detriment of his own scientific career and despite the loss of his own personal freedom. The Prize is endowed by contributions from friends of Andrei Sakharov.

Recent recipients

Eugene M. Chudnovsky

2024 recipient

For decades of leadership of prominent campaigns on behalf of oppressed scientists, including chairmanship of the APS and New York Academy of Sciences human rights committees and co-chairing of the Committee of Concerned Scientists.

John C. Polanyi

2022 recipient

For seven decades of tireless activism for a nuclear-weapons-free world, for upholding human rights and freedom of speech globally, for public education on the essential role of science in society, and for a visionary approach to bringing about a hopeful, peaceful future.

Ayse Erzan

2020 recipient

For a lifelong commitment to human rights, especially for a steadfast defense of the rights of citizens to criticize those in power, even at great personal cost.

Xiaoxing Xi

2020 recipient

For articulate and steadfast advocacy in support of the US scientific community and open scientific exchange, and especially his efforts to clarify the nature of international scientific collaboration in cases involving allegations of scientific espionage.

Narges Mohammadi

2018 recipient

for her leadership in campaigning for peace, justice, and the abolition of the death penalty and for her unwavering efforts to promote the human rights and freedoms of the Iranian people, despite persecution that has forced her to suspend her scientific pursuits and endure lengthy incarceration.

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.

Andrei Sakharov Prize

Service and teaching

Join your Society

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