Carl E. Anderson Division of Laser Science Dissertation Award

To recognize doctoral research in laser science and encourage the effective written and oral presentation of research results. The award consists of $1,000 and a certificate citing the contribution made by the recipient.

The finalists will present their work at a special session of the annual APS DLS Laser Science conference, held jointly with the annual Optica Frontiers in Optics Meeting, October 9-12, 2023, in Tacoma, WA.

Establishment & Support

This award was established in 2013 by the American Physical Society (APS) Division of Laser Science (DLS) and endowed by Charlotte Anderson in 2015 in memory of her husband Carl E. Anderson.

Rules & Eligibility

Doctoral students at any university in the United States or abroad who have completed all requirements for completion of their Ph.D. any time during the three calendar years preceding the application deadline and who are members of DLS are eligible for the award. A student may be a finalist in the competition only once. Eligible non-finalists from prior years may re-apply by submitting a new nomination package. Previous nomination packages will not be automatically reconsidered in the following year, so a new nomination must be submitted each year for consideration.

The research recognized by this dissertation award may include basic research, research with industrial applications, or both. Industrial applications were the primary interest of Carl E. Anderson. The topic must be appropriate for DLS—a novel application of the light-matter interaction, broadly construed. This may encompass emerging new optical techniques for science, the science uncovered by new laser capabilities, and the physics of coherent light sources.

Nomination & Selection Process

Deadline: Monday, June 3, 2024

The following materials must be submitted via the APS online nomination system.
See the  instructions for submitting a nomination on the guidelines page.

  1. APS Prizes and Awards nomination form (nominee’s contact information, thesis date)
  2. A letter from the research advisor citing the specific contributions of the applicant and the significance of those contributions.
  3. A letter from the department chair certifying the date of completion of requirements of the Ph.D.
  4. At most two letters seconding the application.
  5. A summary of the dissertation prepared by the applicant, not to exceed 1,500 words excluding figures and references.
  6. A 2-page abstract meeting the formatting requirements of an invited abstract, which will be published if the applicant is selected as a finalist.
  7. A copy of or web link to the dissertation.
  8. Demographics form (if known/wish to specify age, gender, race, and ethnicity of the nominee)

All nomination materials will be treated confidentially and viewed only by the Selection Committee. Any individual may submit at most one nominating or seconding letter in any given year. The finalists will be chosen by the Dissertation Award Selection Committee based on the quality of the research and the written presentation. The finalists will present their Ph.D. thesis work at a special Dissertation Award Session of the Laser Science meeting. It is important that the final presentations are restricted to work carried out during their Ph.D. research. After consideration of the oral presentations, the Selection Committee will choose the recipient of the award. A $1000 stipend will be provided to all finalists to be used toward travel and conference registration fees.

Applicants for the thesis prize competition may also submit an abstract for a regular contributed talk to the Frontiers in Optics/Laser Science conference (, however any other contributed or invited talks are distinct from the invited talks given in the finalist session. The above material must still be submitted online by the application deadline.

2023 Selection Committee Members: Brian Washburn (Chair), Hailin Wang, Michael Chini, and Juliet Gopinath

2023 Finalists: Nicholas Nardelli, Torben Purz, Rishabh Sahu, Michael Tanksalvala

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, scientists from institutions with limited resources, 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.

2023 Recipient

Rishabh Sahu
Institute of Science and Technology Austria

Past Recipients

2022: Christopher Panuski
2021: Haocun Yu
2020: James D. Gaynor
2019: Edoardo Baldini
2018: Sara L. Campbell
2017: Dennis Gardner
2016: Mohammad Mirhosseini
2015: Yang Zhao
2014: Ido Kaminer