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Justin Jankunas Doctoral Dissertation Award in Chemical Physics

Please honor Justin’s legacy with your donation to support the endowment of this award. Your gift will help to encourage and recognize other promising chemical physicists.

Support the Justin Jankunas Award

In 2015, the APS Division of Chemical Physics (DCP) renamed the division’s new doctoral thesis award as the Justin Jankunas Doctoral Dissertation Award in Chemical Physics. The renaming, established with friends, family, and colleagues of Justin Jankunas, honors his memory and work as a promising young chemical physicist at the beginning of a promising career.


Goal Reached!


About the Award

The annual award recognizes the best doctoral dissertation in any area of chemical physics and consists of:

  • A stipend of $1,500
  • A certificate citing the contributions of the recipient
  • A travel allowance of up to $1,000 for the awardee to travel to the APS March Meeting to receive the award and give an oral presentation describing his or her doctoral research

About Justin Jankunas

Justin died tragically in a motorcycle accident in May 2015 at the age of 30. In his short life, Justin published 19 papers in molecular reaction dynamics from work as a grad student at Stanford University and one year as a postdoctoral fellow at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Learn more about Justin

“He was a wizard in the laboratory working indefatigably on understanding in detail the simplest of all chemical reactions, H + D2 → HD + H … he went way beyond the call of duty to provide teaching support to a number of courses, being a teaching assistant in 10 different courses … When he graduated he received the Linus Pauling teaching award from my Department as well as an award given to the top physical chemistry Ph.D.”

Prof. Richard Zare
Chemistry Department, Stanford University

“He joined my lab just as our new merged-beam apparatus had become operational, and he was there for the first observation of cold collisions between metastable neon and ammonia. He made that experiment flourish and produced, in just 15 months, enough data for almost 10 articles in scientific journals … His thorough understanding of chemical physics, combined with his fearless approach to experimentation indeed made him the ultimate postdoc.”

Prof. Dr. Andreas Osterwalder
Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL)

“My favorite part of working with him … was his sheer joy of discovery coupled with his love of doing experiments … We would have a wide-ranging discussion about different projects to do in our lab and often talked about science philosophy. Justin’s work ethic was infectious.”

David Chandler, DCP Chair
Sandia National Laboratory

Thank You to Our Donors

The American Physical Society would like to thank these generous donors for their contributions to the Justin Jankunas Doctoral Dissertation Award in Chemical Physics:

$10,000 - $19,999
Richard Zare

$5,000 - $9,999
David Chandler

$3,000 - $4,999
Scott Anderson

$1,000 - $2,999
Guest Donor(2), Charles Clark, Daniel Neumark, David Osborn, Jack Syage, John Thoman, Millard Alexander, Robert Gordon, Sarah Allendorf, Timothy Zwier, Todd Martinez

$500 - $999
Anonymous(1), Craig Taatjes, Dudley Herschbach, James Farrar, James Myers, Jingsong Zhang, Lai-Sheng Wang, Paul Houston, Richard Dawes, Robert Continetti, Scott Kable, Simon North, Steven Sibener, Thomas Allison, Timothy Gay

Up to $499
Guest Donor(4), David Leitner, Donald Truhlar, Gilbert Nathanson, Joern Werdecker, Sri Chaitanya, Vanessa Huxter, William Reinhardt

Ways to Support the Justin Jankunas Doctoral Dissertation Award in Chemical Physics


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By Mail

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APS Development Office
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Please note "Jankunas Award" in the memo.

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