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Spring 2020 American Physical Society Prizes and Awards Announced

APS announces the Society’s Spring 2020 prize and award recipients.

October 22, 2019

APS has announced the Society’s spring 2020 prize and award recipients, including those for the 2019 LeRoy Apker Award for undergraduate research and the Dwight Nicholson Medal for Outreach.

With few exceptions, APS prizes and awards are open to the entire scientific community in the US and abroad. The nomination and selection procedures, involving APS-appointed committees, guarantee their high standards and prestige. These honors are highly regarded and represent critical recognition from peers.

The new honorees are:

2020 Will Allis Prize for the Study of Ionized Gases

Michael Allan, University of Fribourg
For outstanding contributions to the field of electron-atom and electron-molecule collisions, particularly studies of resonance and threshold effects in inelastic electron scattering and dissociative electron attachment processes.

2020 Hans A. Bethe Prize

Fiona Harrison, California Institute of Technology
For pioneering work in conceiving and executing the first focusing telescope in the high energy X-ray regime, NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) satellite. NuSTAR has enabled major advances in understanding phenomena in the most extreme environments in the universe.

2020 Tom W. Bonner Prize in Nuclear Physics

Richard Milner, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
For pioneering work developing and using polarized internal targets in storage rings and his leadership role in studying the structure of the nucleon in a wide range of electronuclear experiments.

2020 Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Physics Prize

Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
For the discovery of superconductivity in twisted bilayer graphene.

2020 Davisson-Germer Prize in Atomic or Surface Physics

Klaas Bergmann, Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
For the invention of Stimulated Raman Adiabatic Passage (STIRAP) that became universally used for coherent transfer in quantum systems with unprecedented efficiency and robustness.

2020 Max Delbruck Prize in Biological Physics

James Collins, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
For pioneering contributions at the interface of physics and biology, in particular the establishment of the field of synthetic biology and applications of statistical physics and nonlinear dynamics in biology and medicine.

2020 Prize for a Faculty Member for Research in an Undergraduate Institution

Katherine Aidala, Mount Holyoke College
For exceptionally creative and interdisciplinary research using scanning probe microscopy for novel studies of magnetic nanorings, biofilms, and organic semiconductors and for outstanding mentoring of women undergraduates, particularly through research collaborations.

2020 Herman Feshbach Prize in Theoretical Nuclear Physics

Ubirajara van Kolck , University of Arizona
For pioneering contributions to effective field theories of nuclear systems, which have transformed low-energy nuclear theory.

2020 Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics

Svetlana Jitomirskaya, University of California, Irvine
For work on the spectral theory of almost-periodic Schrödinger operators and related questions in dynamical systems. In particular, for her role in the solution of the Ten Martini problem, concerning the Cantor set nature of the spectrum of all almost Mathieu operators and in the development of the fundamental mathematical aspects of the localization and metal-insulator transition phenomena.

2020 Frank Isakson Prize for Optical Effects in Solids

Robert W. Boyd, University of Ottawa, University of Rochester
Vladimir M. Shalaev, Purdue University

For pioneering contributions to the discipline of composite optical materials and metamaterials, including seminal work on the understanding of nanoscale optical composites, and for developing metamaterials and metasurfaces for crucial photonics applications.

2020 Leo P. Kadanoff Prize

Nigel Goldenfeld, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
For profound contributions to the fields of dynamical pattern formation, superconductivity, and fluid turbulence, together with creative developments and exposition of the theory of the renormalization group.

2020 James C. McGroddy Prize for New Materials

Michail Eremets, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry
For pioneering studies of hydrides, a new family of high Tc materials, and for the discovery of sulfur hydrides with record value of Tc.

2020 Lars Onsager Prize

Yuhai Tu, IBM T. J. Watson Research Center
John Toner, University of Oregon
Tamás Vicsek, Eötvös University

For seminal work on the theory of flocking that marked the birth and contributed greatly to the development of the field of active matter.

2020 Abraham Pais Prize for History of Physics

Dieter Hoffmann, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science
For insightful, determined, often courageous biographical and institutional studies of the history of German physics and technology, from Weimar through the Nazi and East German regimes.

2020 George E. Pake Prize

James W. Bray, General Electric Research
For outstanding contributions in applying superconductivity to MRI magnets and industrial scale generators/motors, and for the management of these and other projects that have led to world-class products and leading-edge technology innovations.

2020 W.K.H. Panofsky Prize in Experimental Particle Physics

Wesley Smith, University of Wisconsin - Madison
For the development of sophisticated trigger systems for particle physics experiments, which enabled measuring the detailed partonic structure of the proton using the ZEUS experiment at the Hadron-Electron Ring Accelerator and lead to the discovery of the Higgs Boson and the completion of the Standard Model with the Compact Muon Solenoid experiment at the Large Hadron Collider.

2020 Earle K. Plyler Prize for Molecular Spectroscopy & Dynamics

Anna Krylov, University of Southern California
For innovative work developing high accuracy electronic structure theory to inspire interpretation of spectroscopy of radicals, excited states, and ionization resonances in small molecules, biomolecules, and condensed phase solutes.

2020 Polymer Physics Prize

Kurt Binder, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
For outstanding contributions to statistical physics of polymers, in particular phase transitions and critical phenomena, and for demonstrating the role of polymers as key systems to study central concepts of modern condensed matter physics.

2020 Aneesur Rahman Prize for Computational Physics

Antoine Georges, Flatiron Institute Center for Computational Quantum Physics, Collège de France
Gabriel Kotliar, Rutgers University, Brookhaven National Laboratory

For the development of the Dynamical Mean Field Theory as a tool for the computation of properties of strongly correlated materials.

2020 Norman F. Ramsey Prize in Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics, and in Precision Tests of Fundamental Laws and Symmetries

Philip H. Bucksbaum, Stanford University, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
For pioneering explorations of ultrafast strong field physics from the optical to the X-ray regime.

2020 Andrei Sakharov Prize

Ayşe Erzan, Istanbul Technical University
For her lifelong commitment to human rights, especially for her steadfast defense of the rights of citizens to criticize those in power, even at great personal cost.

Xiaoxing Xi, Temple University
For his articulate and steadfast advocacy in support of the US scientific community and open scientific exchange, and especially his efforts to clarify the nature of international scientific collaboration in cases involving allegations of scientific espionage.

2020 J.J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics

Pierre Sikivie, University of Florida
For seminal work recognizing the potential visibility of the invisible axion, devising novel methods to detect it, and for theoretical investigations of its cosmological implications.

2020 Robert R. Wilson Prize for Achievement in the Physics of Particle Accelerators

Bruce Carlsten, Los Alamos National Laboratory
For the discovery and subsequent implementation of emittance compensation in photoinjectors that has enabled the development of high brightness, X-ray free electron lasers such as the Linac Coherent Light Source.

2020 David Adler Lectureship Award in the Field of Materials Physics

Chang-Beom Eom, University of Wisconsin - Madison
For pioneering research and insightful lectures demonstrating how the use of epitaxy can be used to manipulate the structure of materials to greatly enhance their properties and enable oxide electronics.

2019 LeRoy Apker Award

Tali Khain, University of Michigan
For original contributions to understanding the outer solar system, including characterizing the dynamical properties of hundreds of new objects in the Kuiper Belt; establishing the orbital stability of a new dwarf planet; and investigating the effects of a hypothesized distant new planet.

Katelyn Cook, Houghton College
For experimental contributions toward the measurement of low-energy nuclear cross sections using inertial confinement fusion.

2020 Edward A. Bouchet Award

Nadya Mason, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
For impactful experimental research on low-dimensional superconducting and topological materials and devices, and for the promotion of diversity and inclusiveness in the scientific workforce, enhancing opportunities for underrepresented groups through leadership, service, and mentoring.

2020 Joseph A. Burton Forum Award

Adam Frank, University of Rochester
For multi-channel promotion of public understanding of physics, of science in general, and of the relationship between science and society, using methods and venues that effectively engage and provoke discussion among policy makers, scientists, and the public regarding important issues.

2020 John H. Dillon Medal

Rodney Priestley, Princeton University
For impactful experiments illuminating the glass transition, and for novel processes for the controlled formation of polymer thin films and structured nanocolloids.

2020 Distinguished Lectureship Award on the Applications of Physics

Thirumalai Venkatesan, National University of Singapore
For invention and commercialization of the pulsed laser deposition process and for sustained leadership in academic entrepreneurship.

2020 Excellence in Physics Education Award

Open Source Physics Team
For sustained commitment to computational physics education through creating and disseminating programming environments, books, software, simulations, and other tools to support computational thinking, and for research establishing the value of these tools and best practices for their use.

2020 Rolf Landauer and Charles H. Bennett Award in Quantum Computing

Fernando Brandao, California Institute of Technology
For outstanding achievements in entanglement theory and in the intersection of quantum computation, quantum thermodynamics, and quantum many-body physics.

2020 Maria Goeppert Mayer Award

Elisabeth Krause, University of Arizona
For contributions to theoretical cosmology and astrophysics, in particular, pioneering approaches to modeling key observables and extracting cosmological constraints from large galaxy surveys.

2019 Dwight Nicholson Medal for Outreach

Lucy Fortson, University of Minnesota
For extraordinary work in bringing the excitement and discovery of scientific research to the public through her leadership of the Zooniverse project.

2020 Irwin Oppenheim Award

Eric DeGiuli, Ryerson University
For the development of a comprehensive theory to describe the inherent states of amorphous solids, which is published in the article entitled “Edwards field theory for glasses and granular matter” in Physical Review E 98, 033001 (2018).

2020 Henry Primakoff Award for Early-Career Particle Physics

Matt Pyle, University of California, Berkeley
For developing high-resolution ultra-low threshold cryogenic detectors which has defined new directions for research and development and opened possibilities for probing dark matter particle masses previously considered inaccessible.

2020 Jonathan F. Reichert and Barbara Wolff-Reichert Award for Excellence in Advanced Laboratory Instruction

Enrique Galvez, Colgate University
For invigorating and modernizing the undergraduate physics advanced laboratory with single-photon experiments that give students direct experience with quantum entanglement, single-photon interference, Bell's inequalities, delayed choice, quantum erasure, and bi-photon states.

2020 Richard A. Isaacson Award in Gravitational-Wave Science

Bernard Schutz, Cardiff University
Bruce Allen, Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

For pioneering and decisive contributions to the development and successful implementation of analysis techniques required to detect and interpret gravitational-wave signals.

2020 Early Career Award for Soft Matter Research

Stefano Sacanna, New York University
For imaginative synthesis of complex colloidal materials that have spurred important new inquiries and paradigms for assembly and control in soft matter.

2020 Leo Szilard Lectureship Award

France A. Córdova, National Science Foundation
For visionary and stellar impacts as an astrophysicist and leader on the public understanding and appreciation of science, on science and technology policy, on broadening participation in science and engineering, and on enabling and celebrating the benefits of science—especially physics—to society.

For more information on the APS Honors program, please see the prize listings page.

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