Honors and awards

Each year, Illinois Physics recognizes student excellence at a special awards banquet. In 2019, the Fortieth Physics-on-the-Campus Luncheon was held at the Illini Union on Wednesday, April 24. Many of the awards are made possible through the generous support of our alumni.

Group of people getting food from a buffet table
Faculty, staff, students, and students’ families enjoy a buffet lunch at the Illini Union prior to the student recognition Ceremony on April 25, 2019. All photos by Darrell Hoemann.
Man in suit speaking at podium
Head of Department and Professor Matthias Grosse Perdekamp welcomes honorees and their families to the luncheon and awards ceremony.
Group of teaching assistants posing with award certificates
Teaching Assistants voted outstanding by their students are recognized during the ceremony. This is a small representation of our TAs ranked 'excellent teachers' each semester.
group of students holding award certificates
The 2018/19 Society of Physics Students officers are recognized for their service to the physics student body at Illinois. Pictured left to right are local chapter Secretary Iain Carpenter, Treasurer Jamie Milota, Vice President Anil Radhakrishnan, President Jacquelyn Schmidt, Internal Affairs Officer Andi Mankolli, and Charity Officer Peyton Pielet.
Young man in suit posing with his parents at banquet table
Imran Sultan and his parents pose for a photo before the luncheon. Graduating senior Sultan was recognized for finishing in the top 3 percent of his class, qualifying him to have his name engraved on the 2019 University Honors Bronze Tablet displayed in the Main Library.

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  • Condensed Matter Physics

Two University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign scientists are among 126 recipients of the 2020 Sloan Research Fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. This honor is one of the most competitive and prestigious awards available to early career researchers. 

This year’s Illinois recipients are physics professor Barry Bradlyn and electrical and computer engineering professor Zhizhen Zhao.

  • Accolades
  • Biological Physics

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Physics Professor Paul Selvin has been awarded the 2020 Gregorio Weber Award for Excellence in Fluorescence Theory and Applications of the Biological Fluorescence Subgroup of the Biophysical Society. The award is endowed by the ISS (Instrumenzione Scientificia Sperimentale). ISS, located in Champaign, IL, designs and manufactures highly sensitive fluorescence and biomedical instrumentation for research, clinical, and industrial applications.

Named for Illinois Biochemistry Professor Gregorio Weber, a pioneer in the development of both the theory and the application of fluorescence techniques in biology and biochemistry, this award recognizes distinguished individuals who have made original and significant contributions to the field of fluorescence.

Selvin has developed ground-breaking fluorescence instrumentation and techniques at the intersection of physics and biochemistry, shedding new light on the properties and behaviors of biomolecules in living cells. Early in his career, he devised the lanthanide resonance energy transfer (LRET) technique to investigate the chemical properties and structural dynamics of DNA systems. The LRET technique, which offered a 100-fold improvement in signal-to-background resolution over conventional techniques, is now widely used by the pharmaceutical industry for drug discovery.

  • In the Media
  • Accolades

From using supercomputers to peer into the data behind gun violence and mental health to simulating cosmic star mergers, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has a long-standing history of transcending traditional borders of academic research. In line with this tradition, NCSA students from our SPIN, REU-INCLUSION and Design for America programs are offered the opportunity to participate in the Fiddler Innovation Undergraduate Fellowship.

This year's class of undergraduate Fiddler Fellows includes 12 students from a variety of disciplines, spanning from architecture to engineering and even the humanities. Fiddler Innovation Graduate Student Fellowship Awards were also presented to three graduate students, and the Fiddler Innovation Faculty Fellowship was awarded to five faculty members.

  • Accolades
  • Diversity

#90  The former U.S. national team gymnast is now making a difference in the physics lab at the University of Illinois. Through her work and presence, she helps to fill the pipeline of women and minorities who pursue physics.