Prize Recipient

Norman Chonacky
Yale University


"For developing an active, inclusive, and supportive community of physics educators dedicated to integrating computation into their instruction; creating, reviewing, and disseminating instructional materials; and generating knowledge of computation in physics curricula and of effective practices."


Norman Chonacky is a retired experimental physicist and currently a research consultant in the Department of Applied Physics at Yale where he promotes integration of computation into undergraduate physics courses. His experience includes an early, 15-year undergraduate teaching career as physics professor and later a research career in various areas of applied physics and engineering. His educational research includes cognitive models of reasoning and problem solving, and their adaptation to methods for computer-supported collaborative research work and learning. His physics research work includes medical physics, applied optics, atmospheric physics, environmental sensors and data management, and management of environmental materials, especially for atmospheric carbon capture and sequestration. During both of these career phases he was involved in computation ranging from hardware to software development, especially in methods and techniques of scientific instrumentation and simulations. He conducted his research and development at various universities and labs. He earned a BS in physics in 1961 at John Carroll University-Cleveland, and a PhD in physics in 1967 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a member of the American Association of Physics Teachers, American Physical Society, IEEE-Computer Society of which he was editor in chief of Computing in Science and Engineering, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science of which he is a Fellow.

Selection Committee:

2023 Selection Committee Members: Clausell Mathis (Chair), Carmen Pantoja, Edmund Bertschinger