Max Delbruck Prize in Biological Physics

To recognize and encourage outstanding achievement in biological physics research. The prize consists of $10,000, an allowance for travel to attend the meeting at which the prize is awarded, and a certificate citing the contributions made by the recipient or recipients. It is presented annually.

Prior to 2008, this prize was awarded as the Biological Physics Prize.

Establishment & Support

Established in 1981 by friends of the APS Division of Biological Physics (DBIO) as the Biological Physics Prize, renamed in 2006 in conjunction with an endowment campaign. Key contributors include two anonymous donors, one a former student of John Hopfield, and DBIO members through a transfer of DBIO operating funds.

Previous sponsors of the Biological Physics Prize included Abbott Labs, Bio-Rad Microscience Division, Candela Laser Corp., Coherent Laser Products Group, Eastman Kodak Co., Furumoto Research Foundation, Newport Corporation-Bio-Instruments Division, and Siemens AG, Medical Engineering Group with continued funding by Coherent.

Rules & Eligibility

Nominations are open to scientists of all nationalities regardless of the geographical site at which the work was done. The prize may be awarded to more than one investigator on a shared basis. Nominations will be considered for three review cycles provided the nominator re-certifies the nomination before the next deadline.

Nomination & Selection Process

Deadline: Wednesday, June 1, 2022

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 of preprints

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

2023 Selection Committee Members: Aihua Xie (Chair), Zuzanna Siwy, Ibrahim Cissé, Terence Tai-Li Hwa ('22 Recipient), Jennifer Ross, Joshua Shaevitz

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.

2022 Recipient

Terence Tai-Li Hwa
University of California, San Diego

Past Recipients

2021: Andrea Cavagna
          Irene Giardina
2020: James Collins
2019: Jose Nelson Onuchic
          Ken A. Dill
2018: William Bialek
2017: Alan Perelson
2016: Stephen R. Quake
2015: Stanislas Leibler
2014: Robert H. Austin
2012: William A. Eaton
2010: Xiaowei Zhuang
2008: Steven M. Block
2006: Alfred G. Redfield
2004: Peter Wolynes
2002: Carlos Bustamante
2000: Paul Kenneth Hansma
1998: Rangaswamy Srinivasan
1996: Seiji Ogawa
1994: Robert M. Pearlstein
          Robert S. Knox
1992: Hans Frauenfelder
1991: Watt W. Webb
1987: Britton Chance
1986: Harmut Michel
          Johann Deisenhofer
1985: John Hopfield
1984: Edward M. Purcell
          Howard C. Berg
1983: Paul C. Lauterbur
1982: George Feher
          Roderick K. Clayton