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.

Related news

  • Accolades

Physical Review B is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2020. The journal emerged out of its revered parent, The Physical Review, in response to the explosive growth of specialized physics content. It has excelled in front-edge coverage of condensed matter and materials physics research. As part of the celebration, in 2020 the editors are presenting a Milestone collection of papers that have made lasting contributions to condensed matter physics. Selection of papers of such importance is not an easy task. It is inevitable that some very important work will not be featured because of the abundance of gems in the treasure trove of the largest journal for physics. The Milestones will be highlighted on the journal website and in social media throughout the year.

  • Accolades

Illinois Physics Professor James Eckstein has been selected for the American Physical Society’s 2021 James C. McGroddy Prize for New Materials. This prize recognizes outstanding achievement in the science and application of new materials.

Eckstein shares the prize with two colleagues—Brookhaven National Laboratory Senior Scientist Ivan Bozovic and Cornell University Industrial Chemistry Professor Darrell G. Schlom—with whom he worked at Varian, Inc., in Palo Alto, CA, in the 1990s. There they developed atomic-layer-by-layer molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) as an effective method of growing artificially structured oxide materials in which each atomic-oxide layer can be individually specified.

The citation reads, “For pioneering the atomic-layer-by-layer synthesis of new metastable complex oxide materials, and the discovery of resulting novel phenomena.”

  • Accolades

Three University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign faculty members have been elected Fellows of the American Physical Society (APS). Physics Professor Yann Chemla, Physics and Astronomy Professor Brian Fields, and Physics and Bioengineering Professor Sergei Maslov are among 163 APS Fellows in the 2020 class.

The APS Fellowship Program recognizes members who have made exceptional contributions to the field of physics, whether through original research, innovative applications of physics to science and technology, leadership in or service to the field, or significant contributions to physics education. Each year’s class of Fellows represents less than one half of one percent of the Society’s membership.

  • Accolades

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Physics Professor Emeritus and Research Professor Gordon Baym has been selected to receive the largest research prize of the American Physical Society, the 2021 Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research. This medal recognizes high-level research contributions that advance our knowledge and understanding of the physical universe. The medal comes with a $50,000 monetary award.

Baym is a theoretical physicist who uses quantum statistical mechanics to understand the laws governing matter under the most extreme conditions in the universe. His body of research spans nuclear physics, astrophysics, condensed matter physics, and the history of physics, and over the course of his career he has made a deep impact in each of these fields.