Prize Recipient

Recipient Picture

Helen Quinn


"For the proposal of the elegant mechanism to resolve the famous problem of strong-CP violation which, in turn, led to the invention of axions, a subject of intense experimental and theoretical investigation for more than three decades."


Helen Quinn received her Ph.D in physics from Stanford in 1967. After a posdoc at DESY, in Hamburg Germany she became a postdoc and then a junior faculty member at Harvard. Returning to Stanford as a visitor supported by a Sloane Fellowship in 1976, she worked with Roberto Peccei on the research honored by this prize. She then became a staff member at Linear Accelerator Center (now SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory) where she worked until her retirement in 2010. She is now Professor Emerita of the Department of Particle Physics and Astrophysics at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. Her research in particle physics connects fundamental theory with phenomenology, and has had a long term focus on issues related to CP symmetry and its violation.  Dr. Quinn was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in 2003 and holds the Dirac medal from the International Institute for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy and the Klein medal from the University of Stockholm and the Swedish National Academy of Sciences for her research contributions.  She is a life member and former President of the American Physical Society.  She is also an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. She has had a long term engagement in education issues and has worked on them at the local, state, and national level. She currently chairs the Board on Science Education of the National Research Council (of NAS) and has served on a number of its studies. She chaired of the NRC study committee that developed “A Framework for K-12 Science Education” (NRC, 2012) which is currently guiding the development of multi-state standards for science education. She is an Honorary Officer of the Order of Australia in recognition of her contributions both to research and to science education.

Selection Committee:

James Wells, Chair; H. Murayama; K. Lane; J. Bagger; M. Carena