Andrei Sakharov Prize

This prize recognizes outstanding leadership and/or achievements of scientists in upholding human rights. The Prize consists of $10,000 and an allowance for travel to the meeting of the Society at which the Prize will be presented. It is intended that the Prize be awarded biennially, at a general meeting of the American Physical Society.

Establishment & Support

The Sakharov Prize is named in recognition of the courageous and effective work of Andrei Sakharov on behalf of human rights, to the detriment of his own scientific career and despite the loss of his own personal freedom. The Prize is endowed by contributions from friends of Andrei Sakharov.

Rules & Eligibility

This Prize normally will be awarded to one or more physicists, but scientists in other fields may be eligible if the selection committee feels their qualifications are appropriate. Nominations are active for three years (two nomination cycles).

Nomination & Selection Process

Deadline: Wednesday, June 2, 2021

The nomination package must include:

  • A letter of not more than 5,000 characters evaluating the qualifications of the nominee(s).

In addition, the nomination should include:

  • A biographical sketch.
  • A list of the most important publications.
  • At least two, but not more than four, seconding letters.
  • Up to five reprints or preprints.

To start a new or update a continuing nomination, please see the Prize & Award Nomination Guidelines.

2020 Selection Committee Members: Shelly R. Lesher (Chair), Don A Howard (Past Chair), Robert S. French, Lucas F. Hackl, Ian Jauslin, Vasudevan Lakshminarayanan, Petr Navratil, Athena S. Sefat, 
Peter V. Vorobieff, Christopher Watson


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

Nominees and award and office holders are expected to meet standards of professional conduct and integrity as described in the APS Ethics Guidelines. Violations of these standards may disqualify people from consideration or lead to revocation of honors or removal from office.

2020 Recipients

Ayşe Erzan
Istanbul Technical University

Xiaoxing Xi
Temple University

Past Recipients

2018: Narges Mohammadi
          Ravi Kuchimanchi
2016: Zafra Lerman
2014: Boris Altshuler
          Omid Kokabee
2012: Mulugeta Bekele
          Richard Wilson
2010: Herman Winick
          Joseph Birman
          Morris (Moishe) Pripstein
2008: Liangying Xu
2006: Yuri Orlov