Honors and awards

Each year, Physics Illinois recognizes student excellence at a special awards banquet. In 2018, the Thirty-Ninth Physics-on-the-Campus Luncheon was held at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center Ballroom on Tuesday, April 24. Many of the awards are made possible through the generous support of our alumni.

Group of people sitting around tables
Physics faculty, staff, students, and students’ families enjoy lunch at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center Ballroom, prior to the student recognition ceremony, on April 24, 2018.
Undergraduates sitting around table and posing for picture
(L-R) Physics undergraduates Jacquelyn Schmidt, Sidney Lower, Spencer Hulsey, and William Helgren visit during the awards banquet. The four were recognized during the ceremony for their leadership roles in the department’s student organizations. Lower and Schmidt are president and vice president respectively of the Society of Physics Students. Hulsey and Helgren are the student coordinators of the Physics Van.
Young woman in semiformal clothing posing with her parents
Physics undergraduate Rachel Smith poses with her parents, Michael and Ruth Smith. Rachel received the Ernest M. Lyman Prize. She was also recognized for her leadership role in the student organization the Society for Women in Physics; Rachel is the 2017/18 president.
Young woman in semiformal clothing posing with her parents
Physics undergraduate Ritika Anandwade poses with her parents, Raj and Sujatha Anandwade, at the 39 th annual student awards banquet. Ritika is a recipient of the 2018 Commonwealth Edison/Beryl Bristow Endowed Award.
Man in suit giving talk at podium
Head of Department and Professor Dale Van Harlingen gives the welcoming address, recognizing student teachers ranked excellent and graduating students.

Related news

  • Accolades
  • High Energy Physics

Assistant Professor of Physics Thomas Faulkner has been selected by the US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science to receive an Early Career Award. The DOE Early Career Research Program, now in its ninth year, provides award recipients with significant funding over a five year period. Faulkner is among 84 scientists at U.S. universities and DOE-supported national laboratories to be selected this year. He is one of only two scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to receive the honor this year.

The Early Career Award recognizes promising scientists within 10 years of having earned their doctoral degrees, working in research areas supported by the DOE Office of Science. Faulkner’s research proposal in theoretical high-energy physics is entitled, “New perspectives on QFT and gravity from quantum entanglement.”

  • Accolades

Associate Head for Graduate Programs and Professor S. Lance Cooper has been awarded the 2018 Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring Award of the Office of the Provost at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

One of the Campus Awards for Excellence in Instruction conferred annually at the campus’s Celebration of Teaching Excellence, this accolade recognizes sustained excellence in graduate student mentoring; innovative approaches to graduate advising; major impact on graduate student scholarship and professional development; and other contributions in the form of courses and curricula, workshops, or similar initiatives. Cooper was presented with the award on April 12, 2018.

  • Accolades
  • Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics

Assistant Professor Bryce Gadway of the Department of Physics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has been selected for the 2017 U.S. Air Force Young Investigator Research Program. Gadway is among 43 early-career scientists and engineers nationwide to receive this three-year award of $450,000. U.S. Air Force Young Investigators are selected based on demonstrated exceptional ability and promise for conducting basic research in scientific and engineering areas identified as strategic to the US Air Force mission.

  • Accolades
  • Condensed Matter Physics

The American Chemical Society (ACS), through its Division of History of Chemistry, has an award that acknowledges these greatest of strides: the Chemical Breakthrough Awards are presented annually in recognition of “seminal chemistry publications, books, and patents that have been revolutionary in concept, broad in scope, and long-term in impact.” These awards are made to the department where the breakthrough occurred, not to the individual scientists or inventors.

This year, the ACS honored the discovery of “J-coupling” (also known as spin-spin coupling) in liquids, a breakthrough that enabled scientists to use Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to identify atoms that are joined by a chemical bond and so to determine the structure of molecules.