Essay Contest

The Forum for History of Physics (FHP) of the American Physical Society is proud to announce the 2019 History of Physics Essay Contest.

The contest is designed to promote interest in the history of physics among those not, or not yet, professionally engaged in the subject. Entries can address the work of individual physicists, teams of physicists, physics discoveries, or other appropriate topics. Entries can range from about 1500-2000 words, and while scholarly should be accessible to a general scientific audience.

The contest is intended for undergraduate and graduate students, but open to anyone without a PhD in either physics or history. Entries with multiple authors will not be accepted. Entries will be judged on originality, clarity, and potential to contribute to the field. Previously published work, or excerpts thereof, will not be accepted. The winning essay will be published as a Back Page in APS News, and its author will receive a cash award of $1000, plus support for travel to an APS annual meeting to deliver a talk based on the essay. The judges may also designate one or more runners-up, with a cash award of $500 each.

Entries will be judged by members of the FHP Executive Committee and are due by October 1, 2019. They should be submitted to, with “Essay Contest” in the subject line. Entrants should supply their names, institutional affiliations (if any), mail and email addresses, and phone numbers. Winners will be announced by December 1, 2019.

2018 Winner

Flavio del Santo (University of Vienna)

Gray Arrow Winning Essay: "Striving for Realism, not for Determinism: Historical Misconceptions on Einstein and Bohm." format_pdf

Flavio del Santo

Flavio Del Santo is a Ph.D. student in physics at the University of Vienna and Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information. He completed his Bachelor in Physics and Astrophysics at the University of Florence (Italy) and his Masters in Theoretical Physics at the University of Vienna. His main research interests are the foundations of quantum mechanics, with a focus on the quantum measurement problem. He is also engaged in research activities in the history and philosophy of science.

2018 Runner-up

Grigoris Panoutsopoulos (University of Athens)

Gray Arrow Essay: "Maintaining the Balance between Unity and Disunity in the era of Big Science: the case of the "Sister Experiments" UA1 and UA2 at CERNformat_pdf

Grigoris Panoutsopoulos

Grigoris Panoutsopoulos is a Ph.D. student at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, in the Department of Philosophy and History of Science. He holds a B.Sc. in Physics and a M.A. in History and Philosophy of Science and Technology. His research has focused on the history of CERN, Modern Physics, Big Science, the relationship between theory and experiment and the contemporary crises in the field of High Energy Physics. He has made presentations in international conferences and he has published articles in international journals and edited collections. He is the co-author, of the book Borders, Bodies and Narratives of Crisis in Europe, (Palgrave Macmillan 2018)

2017 Winner

Ryan Chaban

Gray Arrow Winning Essay: "Doublet Dudes: Shaping the Future of Fusionformat_pdf

Ryan Chaban

Ryan is a first-year Ph.D. student at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. His interest in fusion began through a 2016 Summer Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) at General Atomics in San Diego, CA. During that summer he researched energetic particles on the DIII-D Tokamak and this experience guided him towards a research career in fusion energy and intrigued him to learn more about the history of the science.

2017 Runner-up

Shaun Datta

Gray Arrow Essay: "Quantum mechanics as a stimulus for American theoretical physicsformat_pdf

Shaun Datta

Shaun Datta is a senior studying Physics, Mathematics, and Computer Science at MIT.