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By David Voss
With the APS Annual Leadership Meeting entirely online this year, the usual gala festivities that accompany the awarding of the Society's top honors also moved into a virtual format. Hosted by APS President S. James Gates, Jr. and APS CEO Jonathan Bagger, this year's ceremony honored three distinguished scientists for their major research accomplishments; impactful lecturing, mentorship, and communication of physics; and cutting-edge research. A highlight of the event was a documentary video on the lives and research of the honorees.
Vedika Khemani of Stanford University received the 2021 George E. Valley, Jr. Prize for "seminal theoretical work on novel phases of many-body localized and Floquet systems, including demonstrating the absolute stability of a time crystal in such systems." The Valley Prize recognizes an early-career individual 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, a certificate citing the contribution made by the recipient, and an invited talk at an APS March or April Meeting.
William Jackson of the University of California at Davis received the 2021 Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize for "outstanding contributions to fundamental chemical physics and spectroscopy associated with asteroids and comets, and for exemplary teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as lifelong service and inspiration to a diverse community." The Lilienfeld Prize recognizes outstanding contributions to physics and exceptional skills in lecturing to diverse audiences. The prize consists of $10,000, a certificate citing the contributions made by the recipient, an invited talk at an APS March or April Meeting, plus expenses for three lectures by the recipient given at an APS meeting, a research university, and a predominantly undergraduate institution.
Gordon Baym of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was awarded the 2021 APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research for "major discoveries in theoretical condensed matter and many-body physics, neutron star structure and composition, quark matter and quark-gluon plasma physics, and in atomic physics and ultracold quantum gases." The Medal was 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 contributions made by the recipient, and an invited talk at an APS March or April Meeting. The APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research is funded by a generous donation from Jay Jones, entrepreneur.
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Editor: David Voss
Staff Science Writer: Leah Poffenberger
Contributing Correspondents: Sophia Chen, Alaina G. Levine