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. in January 2021 and an invited talk at an APS March or April Meeting.

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: Friday, May 1, 2020

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.

2020 Selection Committee Members: Phil Bucksbaum (Chair), Samuel Bader, Baha Balantekin, Charles H. Bennett, Beverly Berger, Amitava Bhattacharjee, William Bialek, Robert Continetti, John Fourkas, Giulia Galli, Stuart D. Henderson, Philip R. Johnson, John Brad Marston, Michael Coleman Miller, Murugappan Muthukumar, David R. Schultz, Elizabeth Simmons,  Howard Stone


Serving a diverse and inclusive community of physicists worldwide is a primary goal for APS. Nominations of qualified women, members of underrepresented minority groups, and scientists from outside the United States are especially encouraged.

2020 Recipient

Myriam Sarachik
City College of New York

Myriam Sarachik

Past Recipients

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