Undergraduate 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.

  • A.C. Anderson Undergraduate Research Scholar
    This award supports summer research projects of outstanding undergraduate physics majors. The award is named for Ansel C. Anderson, an alumnus (PhD, 1961), faculty member (1962-1992), and department head (1986-1992). A condensed matter experimentalist, Professor Anderson made seminal contributions to low-temperature physics, particularly on the thermal properties of metals and glasses.

  • Commonwealth Edison/Beryl Bristow Endowed Award
    This award recognizes outstanding freshman or sophomore women physics majors. It was established by Commonwealth Edison in memory of alumna Beryl Bristow, the first woman to earn a both a bachelor's and master's degree in physics from the University of Illinois.

  • Ernest M. Lyman Prize
    This award recognizes the outstanding graduating senior physics major and is named for Professor Ernest M. Lyman, a distinguished researcher and world expert in electron scattering who maintained great interest in undergraduate physics teaching. Professor Lyman was one of the early proponents of computer-assisted physics education.

  • Jeremiah D. Sullivan Undergraduate Research Scholar
    The Jeremiah D. Sullivan Award for Undergraduate Research was established by family, friends, and colleagues of Jeremiah Sullivan, a Professor of Physics (1973-2006) and Department Head (2000-2006) at Illinois. Professor Sullivan's scientific career superbly integrated pioneering research in both theoretical high-energy physics and in arms control and international security.

  • Laura B. Eisenstein Award
    This award recognizes the year's outstanding woman physics student. Established by the Department of Physics in conjunction with the American Physical Society to recognize exceptional women physics students, the award is named for Professor Laura B. Eisenstein, a distinguished biological physicist who made seminal discoveries of the mechanism of light-energy transduction in biological molecules.  

  • Lewis C. Hack Scholarship
    This award was established by a gift from Lois E. Hack in memory of her husband, Lewis C. Hack. Both the Hacks devoted their lives to teaching math and science in the public schools.

  • Lorella M. Jones Summer Research Award
    This award supports summer research positions for outstanding undergraduate physics students and is named for Professor Lorella M. Jones, a theoretical high energy physicist who was the first woman to achieve tenure in the College of Engineering. In addition to being a superb researcher, Professor Jones was a dedicated and innovative teacher who was particularly interested in the early application of computers to physics education.

  • Mok Wing Ho Scholarship
    This scholarship is named in honor of Madam Mok Wing Ho, mother of alumnus Dr. Yee Seung Ng (BS '74). It recognizes superior academic achievement as well as commitment to the field through participation in physics-related extracurricular activities.

  • Ralph O. Simmons Undergraduate Research Scholarship
    Established by Ralph O. Simmons, Physics alumnus (Ph.D, 1957) and department head  (1970-1986), this scholarship allows talented University of Illinois undergraduate students to undertake hands-on research summer research projects. In addition to his superb administrative and leadership skills, Professor Simmons made seminal contributions to experimental condensed matter physics, including to our understanding of point defects in metals and to definitive measurements of the thermodynamic, defect, and dynamical properties of prototype solids formed from noble and other gases, in particular solid helium.    

  • Richard K. Cook Scholarship
    This scholarship recognizes an undergraduate engineering physics student at the end of his or her sophomore year and was established by alumnus Richard Cook (PhD, 1935), a specialist in ultrasonics and acoustics, who spent his entire scientific career at the National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Science and Technology). 

  • Robert A. Stein Scholarship
    This award was established in memory of alumnus Robert A. Stein (BS, 1955). Mr. Stein greatly valued the education in engineering physics he received at the University of Illinois, and his family and friends thought the best way to honor his memory was by providing similar opportunities to other students from the Chicago area.

  • Robert E. Hetrick Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award
    The award was established by alumnus W. Dale Compton (Ph.D, 1955) in honor of his first Illinois graduate student, Robert E. Hetrick (BS, 1963; MS, 1964; PhD, 1969). The award recognizes outstanding independent research by a senior undergraduate physics major.

  • Shell Foundation Undergraduate Research Scholar
    To support summer research positions for outstanding undergraduate physics majors, supported by the Shell Foundation.

  • Undergraduate Outreach Achievement Award
    This award recognizes the contributions of an outstanding undergraduate student for leadership in Physics Van or one of the undergraduate student physics societies.

  • Yee Seung Ng Scholarship
    The Yee Seung Ng Scholarship was established by family and friends in memory of Yee Seung Ng, BS, 74. This scholarship recognizes an outstanding junior or senior international engineering physics student.