APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research

Established to recognize contributions of the highest level that advance our knowledge and understanding of the physical universe in all its facets. It is intended to celebrate scientific inquiry and the pursuit of knowledge.

The Medal carries with it a prize of $50,000, a certificate citing the contribution made by the recipient, an allowance for travel to the APS Medal and Prize Ceremony and Reception in Washington, D.C., and an invited talk at an APS March or April Meeting

2021 APS Medal & Society Prizes Documentary Video

Establishment & Support

The APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research is the largest Society prize to recognize the achievement of researchers from across all fields of physics. It is funded by a generous donation from Jay Jones, entrepreneur.

Rules & Eligibility

The prize will be awarded annually without restriction by subfield of physics or by nationality. The award shall ordinarily be awarded to a single person, but a prize may be shared by up to three recipients. Previous winners of other APS Prizes and Awards are eligible. Nominations are active for three years. Self-nominations are not permitted.

Nomination & Selection Process

Deadline: Monday, May 3, 2021

The nomination package must include:

  • A letter of not more than 5,000 characters evaluating the qualifications of the nominee(s).

In addition, the nomination should include:

  • A biographical sketch.
  • A list of the most important publications.
  • At least two, but not more than four, seconding letters.
  • Up to five reprints or preprints.

To start a new or update a continuing nomination, please see the Prize & Award Nomination Guidelines.

Selection Committee

 The selection committee will be the APS Society Medal and Prize Committee which consists of the APS President-Elect, all APS Councilors representing the Divisions of the Society and one additional Councilor appointed by the President-Elect from the Councilors not representing the Divisions. The chair is the President-Elect. 

2022 Selection Committee Members:  Frances Hellman (Chair), Baha Balantekin, Charles H Bennett, Amitava Bhattacharjee, Manuela Campanelli, Tanja Cuk, Daniel S Fisher, John T Fourkas, James Knox Freericks, William Paul Halperin, Stuart D Henderson, Heinrich M Jaeger, Ursula Keller, Michael Coleman Miller, Peter E Schiffer, David R Schultz, Elizabeth H Simmons, Howard A Stone, Karen I Winey

The membership of APS is diverse and global, and the nominees and recipients of APS Honors should reflect that diversity so that all are recognized for their impact on our community. Nominations of members belonging to groups traditionally underrepresented in physics, such as women, LGBT+ scientists, scientists who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), disabled scientists, and scientists from outside the United States are especially encouraged.

Nominees for and holders of APS Honors (prizes, awards, and fellowship) and official leadership positions are expected to meet standards of professional conduct and integrity as described in the APS Ethics Guidelines. Violations of these standards may disqualify people from consideration or lead to revocation of honors or removal from office.

2021 Recipient

Gordon Baym
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign



Past Recipients

2020: Myriam Sarachik
2019: Bertrand I. Halperin
2018: Eugene N. Parker
2017: Daniel Kleppner
2016: Edward Witten