George E. Valley, Jr. Prize

To recognize one individual in the early stages of his or her career for an outstanding scientific contribution to physics that is deemed to have significant potential for a dramatic impact on the field. The prize consists of $10,000, 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. January 30, 2020 and an invited talk at an APS March or April Meeting. It shall be awarded to one individual who has received his/her PhD no earlier than 5 years before April 1 of the year of the nomination deadline.

Establishment & Support

The prize was established by the APS Council in 2000 under the terms of a bequest by George E. Valley, Jr.

Rules & Eligibility

Nomination documents must include a statement from the nominator or from the candidate's department certifying the date of the candidate's PhD. Unsuccessful nominations can be carried over to the next time that the prize is awarded provided that: a) the requirement specified above is still met; b) the nominators update the dossiers of the candidates to include the elapsed two years.

Note: Work done by a graduate student for his/her thesis is eligible for consideration if it is demonstrated that the student's contributions have been crucial to an important piece of research.


Nominations received by APS will be distributed to the APS Society Medal & Prize selection committee for review. The selection committee's recommendation will be forwarded for approval by the APS Council of Representatives and upon such approval a notification letter will be sent to the recipient. The Prize will be presented at the next appropriate meeting of the APS at which the recipient will also be invited to present a lecture.

Nomination & Selection Process

Deadline: Monday, June 8, 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.

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.

2021 Selection Committee Members:  Sylvester Gates (Chair), Sam Bader, Baha Balantekin, Beverly Berger, Charles Bennett, Amitava Bhattacharjee, William Bialek, Robert Continetti, James Freericks, John Fourkas, William Halperin, Stuart Henderson, Heinrich Jaeger, Phil Johnson, Cole Miller, Murugappan Muthukumar, David Schultz, Elizabeth Simmons, Howard Stone

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

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.

Nominees and award and office holders 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.

2020 Recipient

Norman Yao
University of California, Berkeley

Norman Yao

Past Recipients

2019: Julia Mundy
2016: Kate A. Ross
2014: Leif Ristroph
2012: Jinhui Chen
2010: Shina Tan
2008: Paul Sorensen
2006: Irfan Siddiqi
2004: Ivo Souza
2002: David Goldhaber-Gordon