Deborah Jin Award for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Atomic, Molecular, or Optical Physics

This award recognizes doctoral thesis research of outstanding quality and achievement in atomic, molecular, or optical physics and encourages effective written and oral presentation of research results. The annual award is presented to one individual and consists of a $2,500 stipend and a certificate.

Finalists are invited to present their research at the annual DAMOP Meeting. All finalists will be reimbursed up to $1,000 for travel expenses.

Deborah Jin Award 2018 finalists

From left to right: Logan Clark (finalist, U. Chicago), Rivka Bekenstein (winner, Technion), Reuble Mathew (M-Squared Lasers), Lawrence Cheuk (finalist, MIT), Matt Norcia (finalist, JILA).

Establishment & Support

This award was established in 1992 by the Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics (DAMOP) as the Award for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Atomic, Molecular, or Optical Physics, with support from members and friends of DAMOP. In 2015, the award was endowed by M Squared Lasers. DAMOP launched a supplemental campaign in 2016 to recognize Deborah Jin’s contributions to physics by establishing the Deborah Jin Memorial Endowment. Upon achieving and exceeding the goal through the generosity of Deborah Jin’s colleagues, family, and friends, DAMOP renamed the award in her honor. The income from this endowment will supplement travel for finalists and provide new funding to enable students to attend the annual DAMOP Meeting, with an emphasis on enhancing the diversity of student attendees.

Rules & Eligibility

  • Doctoral students who have passed their thesis defense for the Ph.D. in the disciplines of atomic, molecular, or optical physics during the two calendar years prior to the award year are eligible. For example, a person who passed their Ph.D. thesis defense in either 2016 or 2017 is eligible for the 2018 award.
  • A student who has won a thesis prize in another APS unit is not eligible for an award.
  • The student's thesis advisor nominates the student, and must be a member of the APS and DAMOP.
  • A student may be a finalist in this competition only once.
  • Eligible non-finalists may be renominated. Nominators should submit a new nomination in a subsequent year, although the nomination package can contain the same material.

Nomination & Selection Process

Deadline: Friday, November 30, 2018

The nomination package consists of the following materials:

  1. APS Prizes and Awards nomination form (nominee’s contact information, thesis date).

  2. A nomination letter from the thesis advisor citing the specific contributions of the nominee and the significance of those contributions. The thesis advisor must be a member of the APS and DAMOP prior to submitting a nomination.

  3. A letter from the department chair certifying the Ph.D. defense date. The defense date and final submission of the dissertation must occur in the two calendar years prior to the calendar year of the DAMOP meeting.

  4. At least two additional letters of support seconding the nomination.

  5. A manuscript prepared by the nominee describing the thesis research; the manuscript may not exceed 1,500 words (excluding figures and references).

  6. An abstract prepared by the nominee that is suitable for publication in the DAMOP Bulletin; the abstract may not exceed 1,300 characters. The name of the thesis supervisor and the institution indicated in a footnote.

  7. A copy of the candidate's curriculum vitae.

  8. Demographics form (if known/wish to specify age, gender, race, and ethnicity of the nominee)

To submit a nomination, please see the Prize & Award Nomination Guidelines.

2019 Deborah Jin Award Finalists: Matthew Eiles, Ivan Kozyryev, Alp Sipahigil, Chiao-Hsuan Wang

2019 Selection Committee Members: Charles Sukenik (Chair), Old Dominion University; Andreas Becker, JILA; Oliver Gessner, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; David Moore, Yale University; Susanne Yelin (EC), University of Connecticut; Dylan Yost, Colorado State University


Serving a diverse and inclusive community of physicists worldwide is a primary goal for APS. Nominations of qualified women, members of underrepresented minority groups, and scientists from outside the United States are especially encouraged.