I.I. Rabi Prize in Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics

To recognize outstanding early-career research in atomic, molecular, and optical physics. The prize consists of $10,000 and a certificate citing the contributions made by the recipient. An allowance will be provided for travel expenses of the recipient to the Society meeting at which the prize is presented. It is awarded in odd-numbered years.

Rules and eligibility

Nominations are open to scientists of all nationalities, regardless of the geographical location at which the work was done, who have held a Ph.D. for 10 years or less from the nomination deadline. The prize shall ordinarily be awarded to one person but may be shared when all recipients have contributed to the same accomplishment. Nominations will be considered for two review cycles provided the nominator re-certifies the nomination before the next deadline and all other eligibility criteria are still met.

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 prize was endowed in 1989 by family, friends, and colleagues of I. I. Rabi.

Recent recipients

Adam M. Kaufman

2023 recipient

For seminal developments in optical tweezer arrays and clocks based on alkaline earth atoms, with applications to metrology and quantum information processing.

Monika Schleier-Smith

2021 recipient

For seminal work in quantum optics and for discoveries at the intersection of AMO, condensed matter, and quantum information, including original contributions to spin squeezing in optical cavities, engineering long-range interactions for quantum simulations, and metrology, and for theoretical development of a measurement protocol related to the scrambling of quantum information.

Kang-Kuen Ni

2019 recipient

For seminal work on ultracold molecules, including original contributions to the understanding of chemical reactions in the quantum regime, deterministic creation of individual molecules with optical tweezers, and development of novel, high-precision techniques to interrogate and control the complete set of internal molecular resources.

Martin Zwierlein

2017 recipient

For seminal studies of ultracold Fermi gases, including precision measurements of the equation of state, the observation of superfluidity, solitons, vortices, and polarons, the realization of a microscope for fermions in a lattice; and the production of chemically stable polar molecules.

Ian Spielman

2015 recipient

For the development of quantum simulations using ultra-cold atoms, creation of synthetic electromagnetic fields, demonstration of synthetic spinorbit coupling, and applications to studying new physical systems.

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.

I.I. Rabi Prize in Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics

Nominations deadline
June 3, 2024
Early career and students

Join your Society

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