Award for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Biological Physics

This award recognizes doctoral thesis research of outstanding quality and achievement in any area of experimental, computational, engineering, or theoretical biological physics and encourages effective written and oral presentation of research results. The Division of Biological Physics presents the award annually, consisting of $1,500, a certificate, up to $500 U.S. or $1,000 international travel reimbursement, and a registration waiver to receive the award and give an invited talk on the thesis work or an extension of that work at the APS March Meeting.

Establishment & Support

This award was established in 2009 by the Division of Biological Physics and is sponsored by members and friends of the Division of Biological Physics. Biological Physics is one of the most rapidly growing, exciting and interdisciplinary branches of contemporary physics. To encourage the healthy development of this field, the Division of Biological Physics has established an annual award for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Biological Physics.

Rules & Eligibility

Doctoral students at any university in the United States or abroad who have passed their thesis defense for the Ph.D. in any areas of experimental, computational, engineering, or theoretical Biological Physics, broadly construed, any time from April 1st two years before the year in which the award is to be presented until March 31st in the year before the award is to be presented, are eligible for the award, except for those whose thesis advisors serve on the current Selection Committee. For example, for the 2018 award (presented at the 2019 APS March Meeting), the Ph.D. defense must have been passed between April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018

The prize recognizes the fundamentally interdisciplinary nature of biological physics, the applicant, advisor and degree awarded need not be in Physics, but may also be in any appropriate related area, including, but not limited to, Biomedical Engineering, Applied Mathematics, Applied Physics or Biological Physics, Biophysics, Biology, Mathematics, Biochemistry, Chemistry or Chemical Engineering. In the event that the Committee judges no submitted theses to be of sufficient quality, the Committee may elect not to present the award.

Nomination & Selection Process

Deadline: Tuesday, June 1, 2021

The nomination process is initiated by the thesis advisor. The nomination package consists of the following materials:

  1. APS Prizes and Awards nomination form (nominee’s contact information, thesis date).

  2. A letter from the thesis advisor citing the specific contributions of the nominee and the significance of those contributions.

  3. A letter from the department chair and/or relevant program director certifying the date of the thesis defense.

  4. Two letters seconding the nomination.

  5. A manuscript prepared by the nominee describing the thesis research; the manuscript may not exceed 1,500 words (excluding figures and references).

  6. An abstract prepared by the nominee suitable for publication in the Bulletin of the American Physical Society; the abstract may not exceed 1,300 characters. The name of the thesis supervisor and the institution should be indicated in a footnote.

  7. A full curriculum vitae of the nominee including a publication list.

  8. Demographics form (if known/wish to specify age, gender, race, and ethnicity of the nominee).

Nominations are limited to one per year, per nominator. Writers of seconding letters may only submit one seconding letter per year.

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


2021 Selection Committee Members: Rana Ashkar (Chair), Moumita Das, Orit Peleg, Joshua Shaevitz

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

Antonio Carlos Costa
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Past Recipients

2020: William Gilpin
2019: Tapomoy Bhattacharjee
2018: Jasmine A. Nirody
2017: David Reid Jacobson
          Pierre Haas
2016: Robert Blackwell
2015: Quan Wang
2014: Lei Dai
2013: Shiladitya Banerjee
2012: Timothy Sanchez
2011: Siyuan Steven Wang
2010: Erez Lieberman-Aiden
2009: Felix Campelo Aubarell
          Jeffrey R. Moffitt