Carl E. Anderson Division of Laser Science Dissertation Award

This award recognizes doctoral research in the Laser Science area and encourages effective written and oral presentation of research results. Anderson award finalists will be selected to present their work at a special Dissertation Award Session of the annual APS Division of Laser Science (DLS) meeting. The recipient will be announced during the meeting at the DLS banquet. Finalists receive $750 travel stipends and certificates, the recipient will receive an additional $1,000 stipend and certificate.

Establishment & Support

This award was established in 2013 by the American Physical Society (APS) Division of Laser Science (DLS) and endowed by Charlotte Anderson in 2015 in memory of her husband Carl E. Anderson.

Rules & Eligibility

Doctoral students at any university in the United States or abroad who have passed their dissertation defense for the Ph.D. any time during the three calendar years preceding the application deadline and who are members of DLS are eligible for the award. A student may be a finalist in the competition only once. Eligible non-finalists from prior years may re-apply by submitting an entirely new package, which may be the same as the original package. Applications are NOT reconsidered automatically.

The research recognized by this dissertation award may include basic research, research with industrial applications, or both. Industrial applications were the primary interest of Carl E. Anderson. The topic must be appropriate for DLS — a novel application of the light-matter interaction, broadly construed. This may encompass emerging new optical techniques for science, the science uncovered by new laser capabilities, and the physics of coherent light sources.

Nomination & Selection Process

Deadline: Thursday, May 31, 2018

The nomination consists of: 

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

  2. A letter from the research advisor citing the specific contributions of the applicant and the significance of those contributions.

  3. A letter from the department chair certifying the date of the defense.

  4. At most two letters seconding the application.

  5. A summary of the dissertation prepared by the applicant, not to exceed 1,500 words excluding figures and references.

  6. A 2-page abstract meeting the formatting requirements of an invited abstract, which will be published if the applicant is selected as a finalist.

  7. A copy of or web link to the dissertation.

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

All nomination materials will be treated confidentially and viewed only by the Selection Committee. Any individual may submit at most one nominating or seconding letter in any given year. The finalists will be chosen by the Dissertation Award Selection Committee based on the quality of the research and the written presentation. Selection Committee members who have mentored or co-authored with any candidate will recuse themselves from selection of finalists or awardees as appropriate. Applicants who are not selected as finalists will be considered for regular oral or poster presentation at the meeting.

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

2018 Selection Committee Members: Randy Bartels (Chair), Anne Myers Kelley (DLS Chair), Paul Lett, Scott Carney

2018 Finalists: Sara Campbell, University of California, Berkeley; Mark Dong, University of Michigan; Bin Fang, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Pablo Solano, MIT


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

Sara L. Campbell
University of Colorado, Boulder

Sara Campbell



Past Recipients

2017: Dennis Gardner
2016: Mohammad Mirhosseini
2015: Yang Zhao
2014: Ido Kaminer