Prize Recipient

Recipient Picture

R. Seth Smith
Francis Marion University


"For decades of outstanding physics instruction, introducing undergraduates to advanced physics lab topics, for inspiring first-generation students to pursue graduate study and careers in physics, and for working with colleagues in the ALPhA community to improve laboratory instruction nationwide."


R. Seth Smith received his B.A. degree in Mathematics from Francis Marion College in 1983 and earned his Ph.D. in Experimental Laser Physics at Louisiana State University in 1987. He has had the great privilege of being a physics professor for the past 36 years. 34 of those years have been at Francis Marion University (FMU), where he is currently the Pee Dee Electric Cooperative Professor of Physics. He has taught 15 different introductory and advanced undergraduate courses in physics; created new courses in Lasers & Optics and Advanced Laboratory in Physics; redesigned the Modern Physics Laboratory curriculum; and created the FMU Laser Laboratory and the FMU Quantum Optics Laboratory. He is a member of the Advanced Laboratory Physics Association (ALPHA) and has benefited immensely from participation in 14 ALPHA Immersions and 3 Beyond the First Year of Physics (BFY) Conferences. These enriching experiences enabled him to develop and implement 20 advanced undergraduate physics experiments at FMU over the last 13 years. The ALPHA Immersions have been among the most valuable and enriching experiences of his career as a physicist, and he owes a great debt of gratitude to the leaders of ALPHA, the Jonathan F. Reichert Foundation, and the numerous mentors who have patiently taught him.