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By Alan Chodos
Ryan Chaban, a graduate student at William & Mary, has emerged as the winner of the first annual FHP history-of-physics essay contest. The contest was established last year by vote of the FHP Executive Committee. As stipulated in the announcement, its goal is "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."
The announcement, printed in APS News and also emailed to FHP members, advertised a stipend of $1000 for the winner, with $500 going to possible runners-up. In addition, the winning essay is published as a Back Page in APS News. The FHP Executive Committee serves as the panel of judges.
The contest is aimed primarily at undergraduate or graduate students with an interest in the history of physics, but is open to anyone who had not (yet) received a PhD in either history or physics.
Contest organizers were pleasantly surprised that a total of 13 entries were received by the deadline of September 1. In addition to the expected submissions from US students, there was an international component, including two from the UK and one from the Philippines.
Because of the large number of entries, judging took place in two phases, the first of which produced a list of 3 finalists. The Committee then chose a winner and one runner up from among the finalists.
Chaban's essay is titled "Doublet Dudes: Shaping the Future of Fusion". MIT senior Shaun Datta is the runner up, for "Quantum Mechanics as a Stimulus for American Theoretical Physics". Both essays are available on the FHP website at www.aps.org/units/fhp/essay/index.cfm. In addition, as advertised, an edited version of the winning essay appeared in December as the APS News Back Page (see http://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/201712/backpage.cfm).
For information regarding the second FHP essay contest see the box below.
The Forum for History of Physics (FHP) of the American Physical Society is proud to announce the 2018 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 September 1, 2018. They should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org, 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, 2018.
The articles in this issue represent the views of their authors and are not necessarily those of the Forum or APS.