Prize Recipient

Recipient Picture

Benjamin L. Augenbraun
Harvard University


"For theoretical and experimental achievements in photon cycling and laser cooling of diatomic and polyatomic molecules."


Ben Augenbraun received his BA in physics from Williams College in 2015 and his PhD in physics from Harvard University in 2022. As an undergraduate, he worked with Prof. Tiku Majumder on high-precision laser spectroscopy of atomic structure in order to benchmark ab initio theories. For his work in the Majumder lab, Ben received the 2015 APS LeRoy Apker Award. He pursued graduate studies at Harvard University under the guidance of Prof. John M. Doyle. In the Doyle group, his research focused on developing new methods to laser cool and trap polyatomic molecules. Ben and his collaborators demonstrated laser cooling of YbOH molecules, establishing polyatomic molecules as viable platforms for precision measurements of fundamental symmetry violation; developed a sensitive method to measure molecular electronic-vibrational transition intensities in order to study Born-Oppenheimer approximation breakdown; constructed an efficient magnetic-optical decelerator for molecular radicals; and established a path toward laser control of complex gas-phase molecules with applications in quantum information and sensing. Ben is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Doyle group, where he is working on laser cooling large polyatomic molecules. In July 2023, he will join the faculty of Williams College as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry.