McMillan Award

William L. McMillan
William L. McMillan

Since 1986, the Department of Physics at the University of Illinois has presented an annual award to an outstanding young researcher in condensed matter physics in memory of our late colleague, William L. McMillan. Nominations are now being sought for the 2024 McMillan Award winner.

NAS Biography of William L. McMillan

McMillan Memorial written by John Bardeen

About the McMillan award

In the spirit of Bill McMillan’s own research, the award recognizes exceptional achievements in theory, experiment, or both. A candidate must have received a PhD after December 1, 2019, to be considered for the 2024 award.

The award consists of a monetary prize, a plaque, and an invitation to present the annual McMillan Award Lecture at the University of Illinois.

Call for Nominations

Nominations for the McMillan Award consist of the curriculum vitae of the nominee, a publication list, and the nominator’s assessment of the candidate’s three most important papers in condensed matter physics. For these three papers, copies of the abstract (full copies of unpublished manuscripts) should also be included. Candidates nominated in preceding years, but who are still eligible, will automatically be reconsidered by the committee. However, an update that mentions additional work and its impact will strengthen the nomination. Supporting letters from individuals, other than the nominator, are encouraged.

The deadline for receipt of nominations in Urbana is April 30, 2024.

To submit a nomination, go to and upload the nomination package as a single PDF file.

For questions, please contact us at (

Winners of the McMillan Award

The William L. McMillan Award was established by his friends and colleagues to recognize outstanding contributions by a young condensed matter physicist. One of the most creative and distinguished members of our department from 1972 until his untimely death in 1984, Professor McMillan was noted for his basic and unique contributions to many areas of condensed matter physics, including liquid helium, superconductivity, liquid crystals, layer compounds, spin glasses, and localization phenomena. In many of these areas, he made novel applications of computer techniques to obtain increased physical understanding of complex many-body systems.

  • Matteo Ippoliti, 2023
    Physics Department
    University of Texas at Austin 
    "for significant contributions bridging quantum matter and quantum information, including our understanding of quantum Hall systems, the implementation of  quantum simulation of time crystals, and for the development of a theory of measurement-induced quantum phase transitions."
  • Sagar Vijay, 2023
    Physics Department
    University of California Santa Barbara  
    "for significant contributions bridging quantum matter and quantum information, including the introduction and development of fractons as a novel topological order in three dimensions and for novel studies of quantum dynamics in random quantum circuits."
  • Yuan Cao, 2021
    Physics Department
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    "for the pioneering discovery and exploration of superconductivity and correlated quantum phenomena in twisted bilayer graphene."
  • Vedika Khemani, 2020
    Physics Department
    Stanford University
    "for seminal theoretical work on novel many-body phases of many-body localization, Floquet systems, and quantum dynamics."
  • Liang Wu, 2019
    Department of Physics and Astronomy
    University of Pennsylvania
    "for novel terahertz and optical spectroscopy experiments on topological insulators and semimetals."
  • Barry Bradlyn, 2019
    Department of Physics
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    "for the development of a predictive theory of topological materials with non-magnetic space groups."
  • Michael Zaletel, 2018
    Department of Physics
    University of California, Berkley
    "for theoretical and computational breakthroughs in strongly-correlated topological phases of matter including transformative work on the fractional quantum Hall effect."
  • Luqiao Liu, 2017
    Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    "for the demonstration of a large spin transfer torque and magnetic switching in metals induced by the spin Hall effect."
  • Andrea Young, 2016
    Department of Physics
    University of California, Santa Barbara
    "for development of van der Waals heterostructures and discovery of unconventional quantum transport phenomena in graphene heterostructures."
  • Riccardo Comin, 2015
    Sargent Group, Electrical and Computer Engineering
    University of Toronto
    "for ground-breaking studies of the ubiquitous interplay between charge order and high temperature superconductivity in cuprate superconductors by resonant x-ray scattering."
  • Max Metlitski, 2014
    University of California, Santa Barbara
    Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics
    "for contributions to the theory of quantum criticality in metals and to the understanding of topological phases in the presence of interactions."
  • Tyrel McQueen, 2013
    John Hopkins
    "for innovative advances in materials design and characterization in the fields of frustrated magnetism and iron based superconductivity."
  • David Hsieh, 2012
    California Institute of Technology
    Institute for Quantum Information and Matter
    "for studies of topological insulators and their surface states using angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy and measurements of the helical spin texture of these novel electronic states."
  • David Schuster, 2011
    University of Chicago
    James Franck Institute
    "for pioneering contributions to the new field of "circuit quantum electrodynamics," particularly experiments coupling microwaves to spin ensembles and the superconducting qubits"
  • Liang Fu, 2010 (shared)
    Harvard University
    "for the prediction of three-dimensional topological insulators"
  • Rahul Roy, 2010 (shared)
    Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics
    "for the prediction of three-dimensional topological insulators"
  • Abhay Narayan Pasupathy, 2009
    Columbia University
    "for his contributions to single-molecule transport spectroscopy and for the development of precise variable temperature scanning tunneling microscopy to reveal the connection between local values of the gap and their onset temperatures in high temperature superconductors"
  • Andrei Bernevig, 2008
    Princeton Center for Theoretical Science
    "for his insightful contributions to the theory of the quantum spin Hall effect, and for the prediction of the realization of this new state of matter in HgTe quantum wells, subsequently confirmed by recent experiments"
  • Jason Petta, 2007
    Princeton University
    "for pioneering experiments involving quantum manipulation of spin and charge in solid state devices"
  • Yayu Wang, 2006
    University of California, Berkeley
    "for his ground-breaking Nernst effect and magnetization torque experiments, which have established the existence of large vortex fluctuations throughout much of the pseudogap regime of the high-temperature superconductor LaSrCuO well above its critical temperature"
  • Peter Armitage, 2005
    Johns Hopkins University and
    University of Geneva, Switzerland
    "for his crucial contributions to the field of angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy studies of electron-doped superconductors"
  • Markus Greiner, 2004
    JILA, University of Colorado
    "for observing a tunable quantum phase transition between a superfluid and a localized state of ultracold atoms in an optical lattice"
  • Alessandra Lanzara, 2003
    University of California, Berkeley
    "for her discovery of a universal energy scale in the nodal quasi-particle spectrum of the cuprate superconductors"
  • David Goldhaber-Gordon, 2002
    Stanford University
    "for the first experimental observation of the many-body physics associated with the Kondo resonance in a nanoscale device"
  • Jay Kikkawa, 2001
    University of Pennsylvania
    "for the development of new optical resonance schemes to explore the physics of interacting electronic spin systems and to manipulate spin information in the solid state"
  • Igor L. Aleiner, 2000
    State University of New York
    "for his broad-ranging and significant contributions to the theory of quantum transport in low-dimensional and mesoscopic systems"
  • Kathryn A. Moler, 1999
    Stanford University
    "for her fundamental studies of the superconducting pairing state, Josephson vortices, and the role of interlayer coupling in high temperature superconductors"
  • Amir Yacoby, 1998
    The Weizmann Institute of Science
    "for ground-breaking experiments in quantum transport in low-dimensional systems"
  • Daniel C. Ralph, 1997
    Cornell University
    "for fundamental contributions to the development and application of experimental techniques for studying nanoscale structures, most notably his measurements of the discrete spectra of electronic states in nanoscale aluminum particles"
  • Shivaji L. Sondhi, 1996
    Princeton University
    "for fundamental theoretical contributions to the understanding of the behavior of strongly interacting electrons, including quantum magnetism, quantum phase transitions, and the physics of the quantum Hall effect"
  • Sean E. Barrett, 1995
    Yale University
    "for the development of a novel optical pumping technique that made possible the direct detection of the nuclear spins in semiconductor quantum wells"
  • Raymond C. Ashoori, 1994
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    "for high-precision capacitance measurements, one electron at a time, of small quantum dots"
  • Hong Wen Jiang, 1993
    University of California at Los Angeles
    "for ground-breaking experiments on the interactions between electrons and magnetic fields in various quantum Hall systems and electron localization phenomena"
  • R. Eric Betzig, 1992
    AT&T Bell Laboratories
    "for his significant contributions to the development of near-field optical microscopy, especially for dramatic improvements in resolution and performance"
  • Bart J. van Wees, 1991
    Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
    "for pioneering theoretical and experimental work on many areas of quantum transport in mesoscopic systems"
  • Matthew P.A. Fisher, 1990
    IBM, Thomas J. Watson Research Center
    "for his innovative work on the superconductor-insulator transition, the votex glass phase in high-temperature superconductors, and macroscopic quantum phenomena"
  • Peter L. Gammel, 1989
    AT&T Bell Laboratories
    "for his seminal studies of superfluid 3He and of magnetic structure in both heavy fermion and high-temperature superconductors"
  • Veit Elser, 1988
    AT&T Bell Laboratories and Cornell University
    "for his seminal contributions to the field of quasicrystals and for his studies of quantum fluids and quantum spin systems"
  • A. Douglas Stone, 1987
    Yale University
    "for pioneering work on transport and localization phenomena in disordered and very small systems"
  • Thomas F. Rosenbaum, 1986
    James Franck Institute, University of Chicago
    "for the discovery of three-dimensional Wigner crystallization in HgCdTe at high magnetic fields"