Faculty Awards

Nobel Prize

Every year since 1901 the Nobel Prize has been awarded for achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, and literature, and for peace. The Nobel Prize is an international award administered by the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden. In 1968, Sveriges Riksbank established The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, founder of the Nobel Prize. Each prize consists of a medal, personal diploma, and a cash award.

Carl Wieman

2001 - Carl Wieman

Born: 26 March 1951, Corvallis, OR, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Colorado, JILA, Boulder, CO, USA

Prize motivation: “for the achievement of Bose-Einstein condensation in dilute gases of alkali atoms, and for early fundamental studies of the properties of the condensates”

Prize share: 1/3


One of the fundamental numbers in the world of quantum mechanics is the spin quantum number. Particles and atoms that have whole-number spin are described by other rules and equations than those that have half-number spin. Satyendra Nath Bose and Albert Einstein predicted in 1924 that at very low temperatures atoms with whole-number spin would be able to concentrate themselves in the lowest energy state and form a Bose-Einstein condensate. In 1995 Carl Wieman and Eric Cornell succeeded in proving the phenomenon in a rarefied gas of rubidium atoms at an extremely low temperature.

Carl E. Wieman – Facts. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2022.


Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

1998 - Robert Laughlin

Born: 1 November 1950, Visalia, CA, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA

Prize motivation: “for their discovery of a new form of quantum fluid with fractionally charged excitations”

Prize share: 1/3


The Hall effect refers to the fact that if an electrical current flows lengthwise through a metal band and a magnetic field is placed against the surface of the band at a right angle, a charge arises diagonally in the band. In interfaces in certain materials a quantum Hall effect occurs. After Horst Störmer and Daniel Tsui discovered that changes in the magnetic field result in changes in Hall conductance that vary in steps that represent fractions of a constant, Robert Laughlin explained the phenomenon in 1983 with the formation of quasiparticles and a kind of quantum fluid.

Robert B. Laughlin – Facts. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2022.

Steven Chu

1997 - Steven Chu

Born: 28 February 1948, St. Louis, MO, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA

Prize motivation: “for development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light”

Prize share: 1/3


Stephen Chu was born in St. Louis, Missouri, into an academic family of Chinese heritage. He excelled at school and as a child liked to build models before becoming interested in chemistry experiments. He studied physics at the University of Rochester and continued his studies at UC Berkeley. There he began with theoretical physics until he realized that experimental physics was his calling. After Berkeley he did his Nobel Prize-awarded work at Bell Labs. Chu served as United States Secretary of Energy from 2009 to 2013. He is married to physicist Jean Fetter, and the couple has two sons, Geoffrey and Michael.


At room temperature atoms and molecules in the air move about at breakneck speed. In order for them to be studied, they need to be slowed down or chilled. During the 1980s Steven Chu, Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, and William Phillips developed different methods for this. When atoms come in contact with light particles with fixed energies, photons, their movement is affected as if they had been bumped. With the aid of laser light from different directions and adjustment of the photon’s energy for Doppler effects, the atoms can be cooled to extremely low temperatures and captured in a trap.

Steven Chu – Facts. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2022.

Douglas Osheroff

1996 - Douglas D. Osheroff

Born: 1 August 1945, Aberdeen, WA, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA

Prize motivation: “for their discovery of superfluidity in helium-3”

Prize share: 1/3


Douglas Osheroff was born in Aberdeen, Washington, into a family with Eastern European roots and many medical professionals. He became interested in science early and engaged in dangerous experiments in his free time. He studied at Caltech, an inspiring environment where Richard Feynman lectured, and continued his education at Cornell, where he studied low temperature physics and met his wife, Phyllis Liu. After a subsequent 15 years at Bell Labs, he moved to Stanford to pursue his talent as a teacher.


When certain substances are cooled to extremely low temperatures, they become superfluid, flowing without any friction. This applies to helium-4, the most common form of helium, but for a long time the superfluidity of helium-3 was in dispute. The different types of helium are described by different quantum mechanical rules and equations under which helium-4 has a whole-number spin while helium-3 has a half-number spin. In 1972 Douglas Osheroff, David Lee and Robert Richardson verified that helium-3 also becomes superfluid at extremely low temperatures.

 Douglas D. Osheroff – Facts. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2022.

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

1988 - Melvin Schwartz

Born: 2 November 1932, New York, NY, USA

Died: 28 August 2006, Twin Falls, ID, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: Digital Pathways, Inc., Mountain View, CA, USA

Prize motivation: “for the neutrino beam method and the demonstration of the doublet structure of the leptons through the discovery of the muon neutrino”

Prize share: 1/3


In decays of certain elementary particles, neutrinos are produced; particles that occasionally interact with matter to produce electrons. Melvin Schwartz, Leon Lederman, and Jack Steinberger managed to create a beam of neutrinos using a high-energy accelerator. In 1962, they discovered that, in some cases, instead of producing an electron, a muon (200 times heavier than an electron) was produced, proving the existence of a new type of neutrino, the muon neutrino. These particles, collectively called “leptons”, could then be systematically classified in families.

Melvin Schwartz – Facts. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2022.

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

1981 - Arthur Leonard Schawlow

Born: 5 May 1921, Mount Vernon, NY, USA

Died: 28 April 1999, Palo Alto, CA, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA

Prize motivation: “for their contribution to the development of laser spectroscopy”

Prize share: 1/4


Electrons in atoms and molecules have fixed energy levels, according to the principles of quantum physics. When there are transitions among different energy levels, light with certain frequencies is emitted or absorbed. This allows atoms and molecules to be analyzed with the help of the absorbed light’s spectrum. With the laser’s coherent and intense light, the measurement phenomenon can occur. In the 1960s, Arthur Schawlow made use of this to eliminate the Doppler effect, allowing him to determine energy levels with great precision.

 Arthur L. Schawlow – Facts. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2022.

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

1961 - Robert Hofstadter

Born: 5 February 1915, New York, NY, USA

Died: 17 November 1990, Stanford, CA, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA

Prize motivation: “for his pioneering studies of electron scattering in atomic nuclei and for his thereby achieved discoveries concerning the structure of the nucleons”

Prize share: 1/2


Matter is composed of atoms with small nuclei surrounded by electrons. Robert Hofstadter developed apparatus for studying nuclei’s internal structure. A high-energy electron beam from an accelerator was directed towards nuclei and by examining the scattering of the electrons, he could investigate how charges were distributed. He could also investigate how the magnetic moment within the nuclei’s protons and neutrons was distributed. Nuclei were thereby proven not to be homogeneous, but to have internal structures.

Robert Hofstadter – Facts. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2022.

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

1955 - Willis Eugene Lamb

Born: 12 July 1913, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Died: 15 May 2008, Tucson, AZ, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA

Prize motivation: “for his discoveries concerning the fine structure of the hydrogen spectrum”

Prize share: 1/2


According to Niels Bohr’s atomic model, a photon is emitted when an electron descends to a lower energy level. This results in a spectrum with lines corresponding to the different energy levels of different atoms. It appeared that the lines were divided into several lines close to one another, which Paul Dirac tried to explain in a theory. However, in 1947 Willis Lamb used precise measurements to establish what became known as the Lamb shift: what ought to have been a single energy level in the hydrogen atom according to Dirac’s theory actually was two nearby levels with a small difference in energy.

Willis E. Lamb – Facts. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2022.

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

1952 - Felix Bloch

Born: 23 October 1905, Zurich, Switzerland

Died: 10 September 1983, Zurich, Switzerland

Affiliation at the time of the award: Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA

Prize motivation: “for their development of new methods for nuclear magnetic precision measurements and discoveries in connection therewith”

Prize share: 1/2


Felix Bloch was born in Zurich, Switzerland, the son of a merchant, and studied at ETH and elsewhere. When the Nazis took power in 1933, he left Europe to work at Stanford University. After becoming an American citizen, he worked on atomic energy in Los Alamos during World War II and later on radar at Harvard University. Immediately after the war, he did his Nobel Prize-awarded work at Stanford. He became the first head of CERN outside Geneva in 1954-1955. Bloch was married and had four children.


Protons and neutrons in nuclei act like small, rotating magnets. Atoms and molecules therefore align in a magnetic field. Radio waves can disturb their direction of rotation, but only in certain stages, in accordance with quantum mechanics. When the atoms return to their original positions, they emit electromagnetic radio waves with frequencies characteristic of different elements and isotopes. In 1946, Felix Bloch and Edward Purcell developed methods for precise measurement, making it possible to study different materials’ compositions.

Felix Bloch – Facts. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2022.

American Academy of Arts & Sciences

The Academy is both an honorary society that recognizes and celebrates the excellence of its members and an independent research center convening leaders from across disciplines, professions, and perspectives to address significant challenges.

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences honors excellence and convenes leaders from every field of human endeavor to examine new ideas, address issues of importance to the nation and the world, and work together “to cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people.”

2022 - Shamit Kachru

2021 - Robert L. Byer

2020 - Eva Silverstein

2018 - Renata Elizaveta Kallosh

2017 - Zhixun Shen

2013 - Peter F. Michelson

2012 - Philip Howard Bucksbaum, Steven Michael Kahn

2011 - Andrei Linde , Shoucheng Zhang

2009 - Aharon Kapitulnik

2007 - Persis Sydney Drell

2006 - Savas Dimopoulos, Stephen H. Shenker

2001 - Steven Allan Kivelson

2000 - Michael E. Peskin

1999 - Daniel S. Fisher

1998 - Helen R. Quinn, Carl E. Wieman

1997 - Martin L. Perl

1995 - Charles Young Prescott

1994 - Leonard Susskind

1993 - Roger David Blandford

1992 - Steven Chu, Richard E. Taylor

1991 - Malcolm Roy Beasley

1990 - Robert B. Laughlin

1989 - Burton Richter

1982 - Douglas Dean Osheroff

1978 - Theodore Henry Geballe

1974 - James Daniel Bjorken

1970 - Robert Hofstadter, Arthur Leonard Schawlow

1967- William Martin Fairbank

1962 - Wolfgang Kurt Hermann Panofsky

National Academy of Sciences

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a private, non-profit society of distinguished scholars. Established by an Act of Congress, signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, the NAS is charged with providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology. Scientists are elected by their peers to membership in the NAS for outstanding contributions to research. The NAS is committed to furthering science in America, and its members are active contributors to the international scientific community.

2022 - Mark Kasevich

2021 - Savas Dimopoulos, Kathryn A. Moler, Daniel Z. Freedman

2020 - Blas Cabrera

2019 - Todd J. Martinez

2015 - Daniel S. Fisher, Aharon Kapitulnik, Stephen H. Shenker, Shoucheng Zhang, Zhi-Xun Shen

2013 - Stephen R. Quake

2010 - Persis S. Drell, Steven A. Kivelson

2008 - Andrei Linde

2007 - Steven M. Block

2005 - Roger D. Blandford

2004 - Philip H. Bucksbaum

2000 - Leonard Susskind, Robert L. Byer

1995 - Carl E. Wieman

1994 - Robert B. Laughlin

1993 - Steven Chu

1988 - Anthony E. Siegman

1987 - Douglas D. Osheroff

1981 - Stephen E. Harris

1973 - James Daniel Bjorken

1970 - Arthur L. Schawlow

1969 - Sidney D. Drell

1968 - W. Conyers Herring

1963 - William M. Fairbank

1958 - Robert Hofstadter

1954 - W. K. H. Panofsky

Simons Investigators

Each year, the Simons Foundation requests nominations from a targeted list of institutions in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland for the Simons Investigator programs. Simons Investigators are outstanding theoretical scientists who receive a stable base of research support from the foundation, enabling them to undertake the long-term study of fundamental questions.

2021 - Shanhui Fan, Peter Graham

2019 - Sean Hartnoll

2018 - Xiao-Liang Qi

2017 - Shamit Kachru, Eva Silverstein

2014 - Patrick Hayden


Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics

Insights from fundamental physics have overturned our assumptions about the world around us. Last century, general relativity reshaped our picture of space and time, and quantum mechanics replaced the march of cause and effect with a dance of probabilities. Recently scientists have discovered that dark matter and dark energy account for most of the contents of the Universe.

This century is likely to produce more surprises. From the Planck length to the cosmic scale, physicists are opening windows into the deep structure of reality.

The Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics was founded in 2012 by Yuri Milner to recognize those individuals who have made profound contributions to human knowledge. It is open to all physicists – theoretical, mathematical, experimental – working on the deepest mysteries of the Universe.

2022 - Vedika Khemani (New Horizons in Physics Prize)

2019 - Daniel Z. Freedman

2019 - Aron Wall (New Horizons in Physics Prize)

2018 - Douglas Stanford (New Horizons in Physics Prize)

2017 - Peter W. Graham (New Horizons in Physics Prize)

2016 - Xiao-Liang Qi, Leonardo Senatore (New Horizons in Physics Prize)

2015 - Sean Hartnoll (New Horizons in Physics Prize)

2012 - Andrei Linde

Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering

In 1988, the Packard Foundation established the Packard Fellowships for Science and Engineering to allow the nation’s most promising professors to pursue science and engineering research early in their careers with few funding restrictions and limited reporting requirements. The program arose out of David Packard’s commitment to strengthening university-based science and engineering programs in recognition that the success of the Hewlett-Packard Company, which he cofounded, derived in large measure from the research and development in university laboratories.

2021 - Vedika Khemani

2017 - Amir Safavi-Naeini

2011 - Xiaoliang Qi

2010 - Benjamin Lev

2004 - David Goldhaber-Gordon

2001 - Kathryn A. Moler

2000 - Shamit Kachru

1999 - Stephen R. Quake

1998 - Yuri Suzuki

American Association for the Advancement of Science

AAAS Fellows are a distinguished cadre of scientists, engineers and innovators who have been recognized for their achievements across disciplines, from research, teaching, and technology, to administration in academia, industry and government, to excellence in communicating and interpreting science to the public.

In a tradition stretching back to 1874, these individuals are elected annually by the AAAS Council. Newly elected Fellows are recognized for their extraordinary achievements at the ceremonial Fellows Forum, a time-honored event at the AAAS Annual Meeting where they are presented with a certificate and blue and gold rosette.

2015 - Kahn, Steven

2012 - Burchat, Patricia

2009 - Coward, David & Peskin, Michael

2006 - Block, Steven

2005 - Everitt, C.

2002 - Bjorken, James

2001 - Siemann, Robert

2000 - Drell, Sidney  & Chu, Steven

1999 - Osherhoff, Douglas

1995 - Doniach, Sebastian & Winick, Herman

1994 - Harris, Stephen

1992 - Byer, Robert  & Bearsley, Malcolm & Taylor, Richard

1989 - Bienenstock, Arthur

1988 - Perl, Martin

1982 - Meyerhof, Walter

1981 - Fetter, Alexander

1980 - Richter, Burton

1977 - Quate, Calvin

1975 - Bube, Richard

1971 - Crawford, F.

1966 - Robinson, Steven & Schawlow, Arthur & Tiller, William

1959 - Terman, Frederick

1958 - Blois, Marsden

1957 - Hofstadter, Robert

1951 - Kaplan, Henry

1901 - Sanford, Fernando



American Physical Society Honors, Prizes & Awards

APS Honors recognize excellence in contributions to physics research, service, and teaching.

Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Physics Prize

2015 - Aharon Kapitulnik

2012 - Shoucheng Zhang

2011 - Zhi-Xun Shen

1986 - Robert B. Laughlin

1981 -  Douglas D. Osheroff

1970 - T. H. Geballe


Davisson-Germer Prize in Atomic or Surface Physics

2011 - Joachim Stohr

1994 - Carl Wieman


Max Delbruck Prize in Biological Physics

2016 -  Stephen R. Quake

2008 - Steven M. Block


Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics

2006 - Daniel Freedman


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

2015 - Stanley G. Wojcicki

2013 - Blas Cabrera

1989 -   Richard E. Taylor


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

2020 - Philip H. Bucksbaum


J. J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics

2006 - Savas Dimopoulos

1998 - Leonard Susskind


Arthur L. Schawlow Prize in Laser Science

2000 - Richard Neil Zare
1999 - Carl E. Wieman

1994 - Steven Chu


Herbert P. Broida Award

1987 -  Steven Chu


Joseph F. Keithley Award For Advances in Measurement Science

2000 -  Calvin Forrest Quate


George E. Valley, Jr. Prize

2021- Vedika Khemani

2002 - David Goldhaber-Gordon


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

2021 - Monika Schleier-Smith

2003 - Mark A. Kasevich