DPF Instrumentation Award

About the DPF Instrumentation Awards

Nominations for the 2018 award are closed.

The DPF Instrumentation Award 2018 is awarded to Professor Rinaldo Santonico from the University of Rome, Tor Vergata, for the development of large gap Resistive Plate Chambers (RPCs) and their successful application in a wide variety of experiments.

Since the initial proposal in 1981, Professor Santonico and his group have continually evolved this technology over a period of more than 30 years. The good time and spatial resolution of RPCs and their relatively low cost per unit area make RPCs the technology of choice for modern collider and astro-particle detectors that need to cover large areas for charged particle tracking in low-occupancy environments. Through the definition of detailed construction procedures for mass production of large quantities of RPCs and the transferral of this technology to industry, Professor Santonico has enabled many other groups and applications around the world, within and outside of HEP.

The DPF Instrumentation Early Career Award 2018 is awarded to Dr. Javier Tiffenberg from Fermilab and the University of Chicago for the development of the Skipper CCD and its application in light dark matter and coherent neutrino-nucleus interaction searches.

Skipper CCDs have first been reported in 1990, but Dr. Tiffenberg has realized the potential of this technology for the detection of low-energy signals. Profiting from two decades of development in CCD technology, Dr. Tiffenberg’s group was able to modify the readout stage of the CCD such that it can readout the exact number of electron-hole pairs in a single pixel and do so over a very large dynamic range, thus gaining sensitivity to single photons hitting the detector.


The DPF Instrumentation Award and DPF Instrumentation Early Career Award are bestowed annually to honor exceptional contributions to instrumentation advancing the field of particle physics through the invention, refinement, or application of instrumentation and detectors. The awards recognize accomplishments in one or more of the following areas:

  • Conceptualization and development of unique instrumentation that has made a significant impact on the field.
  • Demonstration of the innovative use of instrumentation.
  • Stimulation of other researchers to use new techniques and methods.
  • Authorship of research papers or books that have had an influential role in the use of instrumentation.

The DPF Instrumentation Award recognizes outstanding achievements in particle physics instrumentation that have had a major impact on the field through the awardee’s dedication over a substantial portion of an entire career, while the DPF Instrumentation Early Career Award recognizes achievements having a significant impact at an early career stage. For the purpose of this award, the early career stage is taken to be approximately 15 years from a Ph.D. or other terminal degree, with due account for interruptions and other factors in nominees’ careers.

Award recipients will present award lectures at the 2019 APS spring meeting.

Nominations need the following components:

  • A nominating letter of not more than 5,000 characters (about two pages) evaluating the qualifications of the nominee(s)
  • A biographical sketch or CV
  • At least two, but not more than three, seconding letters

Nominations will be active for three years.

Nominations for the 2018 award will be accepted through Academic Jobs Online (AJO) from now through August 31, 2018. Click the "Nominate" link on the 7th line under "Description."

Nominators should submit all of the material listed above, except the supporting letters. The names and email addresses of the supporting letter-writers should also be included in the nomination packet. If you encounter difficulty with the site, contact Bob Bernstein (rhbob@fnal.gov).

It is important to remember the membership of APS is diverse and global, so the Prize and Award winners as well as Fellows of the APS should reflect that diversity. Nominations of women, members of underrepresented minority groups, and scientists from outside the United States are especially encouraged. Nominations of qualified junior scientists are especially welcome this year and in subsequent odd-numbered years.

If you have any questions about the award, please contact the award committee:

2018 Selection Committee Members

Petra Merkel (Chair) (petra@fnal.gov)

Rick Van Berg (Vice-chair) (rick@hep.upenn.edu)
Hong Ma (hma@bnl.gov)

Tim Nelson (tknelson@slac.stanford.edu)
Blair Ratcliff (blair@slac.stanford.edu)
Abe Seiden (abs@scipp.ucsc.edu)
Larry Sulak (sulak@bu.edu)

Previous Winners

2017 - Blair Ratcliff

2017 - Lawrence Sulak

"For the development of novel detectors exploiting the Cherenkov radiation to enhance the capabilities of frontier experiments devoted to the study of beauty and charm hadrons and atmospheric neutrinos."
2017 Award Committee: Marina Artuso (Chair), Petra Merkel (Vice-chair), Hong Ma, Stephen Holland, Tim Nelson, Abe Seiden, Gary Varner

2016 - Stephen Holland

2016 - Gary Varner

"For the development of technologies for detection of signals in frontier experiments, especially the fully depleted charge coupled device and the 'oscilloscope on a chip' integrated circuit."

2015 - David Nygren

2015 - Veljko Radeka

"For widespread contributions and leadership in the development of new detector technologies and low-noise electronics instrumentation in particle physics as well as other fields, and in particular work leading to the development and instrumentation of large volume liquid argon time projection chambers that are now a key element in the global particle physics program."

2015 Award Committee: Howard Nicholson (Chair) CPAD, Sally Seidel (Vice-chair) DPF, Marina Artuso CPAD, Karsten Heeger DPF, Graham Smith CPAD