APS News

Spring 2021 APS Prizes & Awards Recipients

October 7, 2020

APS has announced the Society’s Spring 2021 prize and award recipients, including those for the 2020 LeRoy Apker Award for undergraduate research and the 2020 Dwight Nicholson Medal for Outreach.

The APS Prizes and Awards recognize outstanding achievements in research, education, and public service. With few exceptions, they are open to all members of the scientific community in the US and abroad. The nomination and selection procedure, involving APS-appointed selection committees, guarantees high standards and prestige.

The new honorees are:

2021 Abraham Pais Prize for History of Physics

Hasok Chang, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge
For innovative and influential studies on the history and philosophy of the physical sciences, including scholarly works on scientific evidence, the physics-chemistry interaction, and historical and epistemic aspects of thermal physics.

2021 Arthur L. Schawlow Prize in Laser Science

Peter J. Delfyett, Jr., CREOL, The College of Optics & Photonics, University of Central Florida
For pioneering contributions to the development of ultrafast mode-locked semiconductor diode lasers, including the scientific understanding of the underlying physical processes, and their application in ultra-wide bandwidth optical communications and signal processing.

2021 Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics

Joel L. Lebowitz, Rutgers University
For seminal contributions to nonequilibrium and equilibrium statistical mechanics, in particular, studies of large deviations in nonequilibrium steady states and rigorous analysis of Gibbs equilibrium ensembles.

2021 J. J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics

Vernon Barger, University of Wisconsin-Madison
For pioneering work in collider physics contributing to the discovery and characterization of the W boson, top quark, and Higgs boson, and for the development of incisive strategies to test theoretical ideas with experiments.

2021 Aneesur Rahman Prize for Computational Physics

Anders W. Sandvik, Boston University
For the development of the stochastic series expansion algorithm, and for numerous creative applications of this method to the study of quantum phase transitions.

2021 Earle K. Plyler Prize for Molecular Spectroscopy & Dynamics

Martin T. Zanni, University of Wisconsin-Madison
For the development and application of ultrafast, nonlinear visible and infrared spectroscopies and pioneering the use of pulse shaping techniques in the infrared, enabling insightful studies into chemical, biological, and materials systems.

2021 Hans A. Bethe Prize

James W. Truran, University of Chicago, Illinois
For distinguished contributions across the breadth of nuclear astrophysics, Galactic chemical evolution and cosmochronology.

2021 Davisson-Germer Prize in Atomic or Surface Physics

Michael F. Crommie, Department of Physics and Kavli Energy NanoScience Institute, University of California at Berkeley; Materials Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
For outstanding contributions to understanding and controlling the fundamental electronic properties of low-dimensional systems at the atomic scale.

2021 James C. McGroddy Prize for New Materials

Ivan Božović, Brookhaven National Laboratory
James N. Eckstein, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Darrell G. Schlom, Cornell University

For pioneering the atomic-layer-by-layer synthesis of new metastable complex-oxide materials, and the discovery of resulting novel phenomena.

2021 Einstein Prize

Saul Teukolsky, Cornell and Caltech
Clifford Martin Will, University of Florida

For outstanding contributions to observational tests of general relativity with theories of gravitational waves, astrophysical black holes, and neutron stars.

2021 Herbert P. Broida Prize

John M. Doyle, Harvard University
For pioneering work in the field of cold molecules, and for wide-ranging studies of these molecular systems, especially laser cooling, high-precision spectroscopy, and searches for permanent electric dipole moments, providing insight into possible new physics.

2021 I.I.Rabi Prize in Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics

Monika Schleier-Smith, Stanford University
For seminal work in quantum optics and for discoveries at the intersection of AMO, condensed matter, and quantum information, including original contributions to spin squeezing in optical cavities, engineering long-range interactions for quantum simulations, and metrology, and for theoretical development of a measurement protocol related to the scrambling of quantum information.

2021 Herman Feshbach Prize in Theoretical Nuclear Physics

Berndt Mueller, Duke University; Brookhaven National Laboratory
For seminal theoretical contributions to the identification of quark-gluon plasma signatures, focused on predictions of hadronic observables of the partonic state that inform the understanding of thermalization, fluctuations, flow observables, and hadronic spectra.

2021 Prize for a Faculty Member for Research in an Undergraduate Institution

Gordon Jones, Hamilton College
For outstanding contributions to fundamental neutron physics, development of neutron polarizers using optically polarized helium-3, and extraordinary engagement and education of undergraduate students.

2021 Leo P. Kadanoff Prize

Sidney Redner, Santa Fe Institute
For leadership in transcending traditional disciplinary boundaries by applying and advancing deep concepts and methods of statistical physics to gain novel insights into diverse real-world phenomena.

2021 Max Delbruck Prize in Biological Physics

Irene Giardina, Sapienza Università di Roma
Andrea Cavagna, Istituto dei Sistemi Complessi, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
For the incisive combination of observation, analysis, and theory to elucidate the beautiful statistical physics problems underlying collective behavior in natural flocks and swarms.

2021 Norman F. Ramsey Prize in Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics, and in Precision

Dmitry Budker, Helmholtz Institute, JGU Mainz; University of California, Berkeley
For seminal work studying complex atoms, testing fundamental symmetries of nature, measuring electromagnetic fields, searching for exotic interactions, probing the nature of dark matter, and measuring nuclear magnetic resonance in ultralow fields.

2021 Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Physics Prize

Moty Heiblum, Department of Condensed Matter Physics, Braun Center for Sub Micron Research, Weizmann Institute of Science
For discoveries, enabled by ingenious experimental methods, of novel quantum electronic phenomena in mesoscopic and quantum Hall systems, including observation and interpretation of one-electron and two-electron interference, charge fractionalization, and quantized heat conductance in fractional Hall states.

2021 Lars Onsager Prize

Lev P. Pitaevskii, INO-CNR BEC Center, University of Trento; Kapitza Institute for Physical Problems, Russian Academy of Sciences
For originating the Gross-Pitaevskii theory of non-uniform Bose-Einstein condensates and subsequent extensive contributions to the theory of quantum fluids, especially as applied to ultracold atomic gases.

2021 Polymer Physics Prize

Samson A. Jenekhe, University of Washington
For pioneering and sustained outstanding contributions to the synthesis, photophysics, and structure-morphology-performance relationships in semiconducting polymers for electronic and photovoltaic applications.

2021 Robert R. Wilson Prize for Achievement in the Physics of Particle Accelerators

Yuri Fyodorovich Orlov, Cornell University
For pioneering innovation in accelerator theory and practice, including the independent development of the synchrotron radiation partition sum rule; seminal contributions to the muon g-2 experiment; deep understanding of beam and spin dynamics; consistently unique and fruitful ideas, ranging from the practical to the visionary; and the embodiment of the spirit of scientific freedom.

[Orlov received the news of the Wilson Prize shortly before his passing on September 27, 2020.]

2021 Tom W. Bonner Prize in Nuclear Physics

Geoffrey L Greene, University of Tennessee
For foundational work establishing the field of fundamental neutron physics in the US, for developing experimental techniques for in-beam measurements of the neutron lifetime and other experiments, and for realizing a facility for the next generation of fundamental neutron physics measurements.

2021 W.K.H. Panofsky Prize in Experimental Particle Physics

Henry W Sobel, University of California, Irvine
Edward Kearns, Boston University

For pioneering and leadership contributions to large underground experiments for the discovery of neutrino oscillations and sensitive searches for baryon number violation.

2021 David Adler Lectureship Award in in the Field of Materials Physics

Robert Cava, Princeton University
For enabling significant advances in the field of topological materials by recognizing, discovering and fabricating novel compounds, and demonstrating with collaborators that such materials show the expected exotic topological properties.

2021 John Wheatley Award

Nathan Berkovits, ICTP-SAIFR/IFT-UNESP
For exceptional leadership in fundamental physics research in South America.

Fernando Quevedo, Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge, UK
For sustained commitment and achievement in the advancement of physics and science in developing countries.

2021 Joseph F. Keithley Award for Advances in Measurement Science

Irfan Siddiqi, University of California, Berkeley
For fundamental advances in superconducting parametric amplifiers, including the development of the Josephson traveling wave parametric amplifier, and for their application to quantum measurement and control.

2021 George E. Duvall Shock Compression Science Award

Craig M. Tarver, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
For theoretical advancement of the understanding of shock-driven reactions and detonation in condensed phase explosives.

2021 Irwin Oppenheim Award

Sumantra Sarkar, Los Alamos National Laboratory
Jeremy L. England, Georgia Institute of Technology

For developing a theory of the emergence of self-replication in simple chemical models, and the definition of general design principles for constructing self-replicating objects, which is published in the article entitled ‘Design of conditions for self-replication’ in Physical Review E 100, 022414 (2019).

2021 Maria Goeppert Mayer Award

Phiala E Shanahan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
For key insights into the structure and interactions of hadrons and nuclei using numerical and analytical methods and pioneering the use of machine learning techniques in lattice quantum field theory calculations in particle and nuclear physics.

2020 Dwight Nicholson Medal for Outreach

R. Michael Barnett, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
For a lifetime of innovations in outreach bringing the discoveries and searches of particle physicists and cosmologists to multitudes of students and lay-people around the world.

2021 Early Career Award for Soft Matter Research

Eleni Katifori, University of Pennsylvania
For the seminal use of physical principles in understanding living transport networks.

2021 Excellence in Physics Education Award

Anderson Sunda-Meya, Xavier University of Louisiana
For multifaceted support and inspiration to students and faculty at Xavier University of Louisiana, robust physics outreach to the New Orleans region, and sustained commitment to recruiting, retaining, mentoring, teaching, incorporating service learning, and conducting research with African American physics students.

2021 Francis M. Pipkin Award

Andrew D. Ludlow, National Institute of Standards and Technology
For significant contributions to the field of state-of-the-art atomic clocks and precision tests of fundamental physics.

2021 Richard A. Isaacson Award for Gravitational-Wave Science

Beverly K. Berger
For supporting and expanding the community of scientists engaged in gravitational-wave research, and for fostering an international network of researchers devoted to theory and experimentation.

2021 Edward A. Bouchet Award

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, University of New Hampshire
For contributions to theoretical cosmology and particle physics, ranging from axion physics to models of inflation to alternative models of dark energy, for tireless efforts in increasing inclusivity in physics, and for co-creating the Particles for Justice movement.

2021 Irving Langmuir Award in Chemical Physics

Jacob Klein, Weizmann Institute of Science
For pioneering experiments on diffusion and interfacial structure of polymers.

2021 John H. Dillion Medal

Bryan W. Boudouris, Purdue University
For fundamental insights connecting polymer structure with charge transport in free radical conducting polymers, organic electronics, and functional block copolymers.

2021 Henry Primakoff Award for Early-Career Particle Physics

Jaroslav Trnka, University of California, Davis
For seminal work on the computation of particle scattering amplitudes, including the development of a new mathematical approach, the amplituhedron.

2021 Joseph A. Burton Forum Award

Robert Semper, Exploratorium
For extraordinary accomplishments exposing educators, policymakers, and the general public to the wonder and joy of scientific exploration, especially in physics, through the development of Exploratorium exhibits and educational resources, and assisting in the creation of Exploratorium spinoffs in many communities.

2020 Leroy Apker Award

Nicholas Poniatowski, University of Maryland, College Park
For advancing our understanding of the transport properties of electron-doped high-temperature copper oxide superconductors through their synthesis, theoretical modeling and experimentation.

EliseAnne C Koskelo, Pomona College
For the development and experimental validation of an analytic model that exploits noise in CCD-based thermoreflectance imaging systems to maximize the thermal resolution of the technique via the stochastic resonance effect.

2021 Jonathan F. Reichert and Barbara Wolff-Reichert Award for Excellence in Advanced Laboratory Instruction

Linda S. Barton, Rochester Institute of Technology, School of Physics and Astronomy
For dedicated and sustained development of the college junior year physics laboratory course sequence, for notable contributions to pedagogical approaches and materials in support of advanced labs in the physics curriculum, and for instilling a passion for experimental physics in her students.

2021 Leo Szilard Lectureship Award

Steve Fetter, University of Maryland, College Park
For seminal contributions to two US administrations' efforts to minimize the threat of nuclear war, for helping to establish nuclear archeology as a viable and effective method for supporting arms control and countering proliferation, and for contributing expert analysis leading to the UN General Assembly's adoption of the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty.

2021 Rolf Landauer and Charles H. Bennett Award in Quantum Computing

Chao-Yang Lu, University of Science and Technology of China
For significant contributions to optical quantum information sciences, especially on solid-state quantum light sources, quantum teleportation and optical quantum computing.

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

News Update Archive

View Archive

APS News

Read Current Issue

Recent News Update
Harvard Chemist and APS Fellow Shares 2022 Kavli Prize in Nanoscience
Dr. George Whitesides, a Harvard chemist and APS Fellow, is one of four recipients of the 2022 Kavli Prize in Nanoscience.
Productive Scientific Discourse Demands Respect
APS strives to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for all those engaged in physics.
APS Continues Progress to Make US More Welcoming for Science
The China Initiative, which sowed fear among some APS members and curtailed legitimate collaborations, has ended in its current form.
March Meeting Heads to Chicago
The 2022 APS March Meeting will be held live in Chicago with many sessions available online as well.
Celebrating Leaders in Physics Teacher Preparation
Nine colleges and universities received top honors for preparing highly qualified high school physics teachers.
2022 APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research Awarded to Elliott Lieb
Princeton University physicist to receive top APS honor