LeRoy Apker Award

An Undergraduate Physics Achievement 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.

Establishment & Support

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

Rules & 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.

Nomination & Selection Process

Deadline: Monday, June 3, 2024

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

To start a new or update a continuing nomination, please see the Prize & Award Nomination Guidelines.

The Selection Committee will evaluate candidates based on their scientific work and presentation, letters of nomination and support, academic transcript, and the engagement and leadership of the student in broader activities in the scientific community.

2024 Selection Committee: Sylvester Gates (Chair), Larry Hunter, Samuel Cho, Hao Shi, and Tennille Presley

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.

2023 Recipients

Cailin Plunkett
Amherst College

Denisse Córdova Carrizales
Harvard University

Past Recipients

2022: Adam Dionne
          Matthew Cufari
2021: Caelan Brooks
          Joseph R. Farah
2020: EliseAnne C Koskelo
          Nicholas Poniatowski
2019: Katelyn Cook
          Tali Khain
2018: Eric S. Cooper
          Nicholas E. Sherman
2017: Angela F. Harper
          Calvin Leung
2016: Nick Rivera
          Stephanie Gorczyca
2015: Adam Sean Jermyn
          Benjamin Lee Augenbraun
2014: Kevin Seltzer
          Michael Veit
2013: Guy Geyer Marcus
          Hao Shi
2012: Theodore Yoder
          Yuliya Dovzhenko
2011: Bethany Jochim
          Djordje Radicevic
2010: Chia Wei Hsu
          Christopher Chudzicki
2009: Bilin Zhuang
          Kathryn Greenberg
2008: Byron C. Drury
          Sujit S. Datta
2007: Bryce Gadway
          Matthew Becker
2006: Huanqian Loh
          Hugh Churchill
          Stephanie Moyerman
2005: David W. Miller
          Matthew Paoletti
          Nathaniel Craig
2004: Jonathan Heckman
          Nathan Oken Hodas
2003: Nathaniel Stern
          Peter Onyisi
2002: Jason Alicea
          S. Charles Doret
2001: Kathryn Todd
          Robert Wagner
2000: Heather J. Lynch
          Jacob Jonathan Krich
          Steven J. Oliver
1999: Brian Gerke
          Govind Krishnaswami
1998: Brian Richard D'Urso
          Gwendolyn Rae Bell
1997: Anna Lopatnikova
          Cameron Geddes
1996: Benjamin S. Williams
          Christopher Schaffer
1995: Benjamin F. Williams
          Frederick B. Mancoff
1994: Arthur Chu
          Brandon C. Collings
          Steven S. Gubser
1993: David I. Kaiser
1992: Christopher Barnes
          Justin Mortara
1991: Dean Lee
          Stephen Quake
1990: Charles J. Brabec
1989: Deborah L. Kuchnir
          Steven H. Simon
1988: Leo R. Radzihovsky
1987: C. James Yeh
          Gerard C.L. Wong
1986: Terrence L. Hwa
1985: Julia W.P. Hsu
1984: Tak Leuk Kwok
1983: Raymond E. Goldstein
1982: Subir Sachdev
1981: Mark B. Ritter
1980: Richard P. Binzel
1979: Louis A. Bloomfield
1978: David E. Heckerman