Justin Jankunas Doctoral Dissertation Award in Chemical Physics

This award is presented annually for the best doctoral dissertation in any area of chemical physics. The award consists of $1,000, a certificate, travel reimbursement up to $1,000, a registration waiver to receive the award and give an invited talk and the APS March Meeting describing the recipient’s doctoral research.

Establishment & Support

Originally named the Doctoral Thesis Award in Chemical Physics, this award was first awarded to Alexander J. White in 2015. It has since been renamed the Justin Jankunas Doctoral Dissertation Award in Chemical Physics. The renaming, established with friends, family, and colleagues of Justin Jankunas, honors his memory and work as a promising young chemical physicist at the beginning of a promising career.


Justin Jankunas obtained his doctorate from Prof. Richard Zare at Stanford in 2013 and then worked with Prof. Andreas Osterwalder at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne until 2015. In this short period he published 19 papers in molecular reaction dynamics until his tragic death in a motorcycle accident in 2015. Justin's family, friends, and colleagues have established this award to encourage and recognize other promising chemical physicists.

There is a fundraising campaign to establish an endowment of $50,000 to support the annual $1,000 award and related expenses. To help the APS Division of Chemical Physics (DCP) achieve its fundraising goal, visit the campaign website. DCP will support the award initially until the funds are raised.

Rules & Eligibility

Eligible candidates should have passed their thesis defense during the 12 month period prior to the nomination deadline. The thesis advisor should verify that the defense occurred within this time frame. The nominee and thesis advisor must be members of DCP.

Nomination & Selection Process

Deadline: Monday, October 1, 2018

Nominations should consist of;

  1. The APS Prizes and Awards nomination form (nominee’s contact information, thesis date)
  2. an electronic copy of the nominee's thesis
  3. a summary of up to 1,000 words (12 point font, in addition to figures, captions, and references)
  4. the nominee's CV
  5. a letter by the advisor, and a seconding letter
  6. The nominee and thesis advisor must be members of DCP
  7. Demographics form (if known/wish to specify age, gender, race, and ethnicity of the nominee)

All candidates are encouraged to submit a 12 minute oral presentation at the APS March Meeting, while the award winner will give a 36 minute presentation at a special award session. Candidates are also encouraged to apply for a travel award of up to $500 (http://www.aps.org/units/dcp/awards/gsta.cfm) to defray part of the travel expenses. Up to five travel awards will be issued.

The nomination package specified above should be submitted via the Fluid Review website. To submit a nomination, please see the Prize & Award Nomination Guidelines.

2019 Selection Committee Members: Robert Gordon (Chair), David Chandler (Vice Chair), David Nesbitt, Dan Neumark ('18 Recipient Advisor)


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

2018 Recipient

Marissa L. Weichman
University of California, Berkeley

Marissa Weichman



Past Recipients

2017: Yuval Shagam
2016: Peter Kraus