University of Texas
Physics Faculty


Research Awards

Nobel Prize:

Steven Weinberg-Physics-1979
Ilya Prigogine-Chemistry-1977




Dirac Medal

International Center for Theoretical Physics' Dirac Medal, first awarded in 1985, is given in honor of P. A. M. Dirac, one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century and a staunch friend of the Centre. It is awarded annually on Dirac's birthday, 8 August, to scientists who have made significant contributions to theoretical physics.


Bryce DeWitt-1987

“For his fundamental contributions to the study of classical and quantum gravity and non-Abelian gauge theory. His pioneering work with quantum, effective action underlies much of the modern formalism. Particularly important are the background field method which he invented, and the methodology of ghost loops in gauge theory, which he did much to develop. His name is associated with the Wheeler-DeWitt equation, which provides the basis for most work on quantum cosmology, and with the Schwinger-DeWitt expansion, which is widely used in studying field theories in curved space-time and in string theory computations.”

E. C. George Sudarshan-2010

“The 2010 Dirac Medal and Prize are awarded to Nicola Cabibbo (University La Sapienza, Rome, Italy) and Ennackal Chandy George Sudarshan (University of Texas, Austin, Texas, USA) in recognition of their fundamental contributions to the understanding of weak interactions and other aspects of theoretical physics.”

Enrico Fermi Award

The Fermi Award is a Presidential award and is one of the oldest and most prestigious science and technology honors bestowed by the U.S. Government. The Enrico Fermi Award is given to encourage excellence in research in energy science and technology benefiting mankind; to recognize scientists, engineers, and science policymakers who have given unstintingly over their careers to advance energy science and technology; and to inspire people of all ages through the examples of Enrico Fermi, and the Fermi Award laureates who followed in his footsteps, to explore new scientific and technological horizons.


John A. Wheeler-1968

“For his pioneering contributions to understanding nuclear fission, developing the technology of plutonium production reactors, and his continuing broad contributions to nuclear science.”

Einstein Medal

To recognize outstanding accomplishments in the field of gravitational physics.




John A. Wheeler-2003

"For pioneering investigations in general relativity, including gravitational radiation, quantum gravity, black holes, space time singularities, and symmetries in Einstein's equations, and for leadership and inspiration to generations of researchers in general relativity."

Bryce DeWitt-2005

"For a broad range of original contributions to gravitational physics, especially in quantum gravity, gauge field theories, radiation reaction in curved spacetime, and numerical relativity; and for inspiring a generation of students."

Albert Einstein Award

The Albert Einstein Award was an award in theoretical physics that was established to recognize high achievement in the natural sciences. It was endowed by the Lewis and Rosa Strauss Memorial Fund in honor of Albert Einstein’s 70th birthday.



John A. Wheeler-1965
Yuval Néeman-1969

Oersted Medal

Established 1936. The Oersted Medal recognizes those who have had an outstanding, widespread, and lasting impact on the teaching of physics.

John A. Wheeler-1983


National Medal of Science

The National Medal of Science was established by the 86th Congress in 1959 as a Presidential Award to be given to individuals "deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to knowledge in the physical, biological, mathematical, or engineering sciences." In 1980 Congress expanded this recognition to include the social and behavioral sciences.
John A. Wheeler-1970

“For his basic contributions to our understanding of the nuclei of atoms, exemplified by his theory of nuclear fission, and his own work and stimulus to others on basic questions of gravitational and electromagnetic phenomena.”
Presented by President Nixon at a White House Ceremony on May 21, 1971.

Steven Weinberg-1991

"For his contributions to the discovery of the structure of the fundamental forces of nature; the development of the standard model, and the unification of the weak and electromagnetic forces."
Presented by President Bush at a White House Rose Garden Ceremony on September 16, 1991.

Marshall N. Rosenbluth-1997

“For his fundamental contributions to plasma physics, his pioneering work in computational statistical mechanics, his world leadership in the development of controlled thermonuclear fusion, and his wide-ranging technical contributions to national security."
Presented by President Bill Clinton at a ceremony in Room 450, Old Executive Office Building, on Tuesday, December 16, 1997.

Wigner Medal

The Wigner Medal, is an award designed "to recognize outstanding contributions to the understanding of physics through Group Theory.“


Yuval Ne’eman-1984


Oliver E. Buckley,
Bell Labs President

Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Physics Prize

"To recognize and encourage outstanding theoretical or experimental contributions to condensed matter physics. The prize consists of $20,000 and a certificate citing the contributions made by the recipient or recipients. It will be awarded annually."



Allan H. MacDonald-2007

"For fundamental experimental and theoretical research on correlated many-electron states in low dimensional systems."


Matteucci Medal

The Matteucci Medal was established to award physicists for their fundamental contributions. Under an Italian Royal Decree dated July 10, 1870, the Italian Society of Sciences was authorized to receive a donation from Carlo Matteucci for the establishment of the Prize. Carlo Matteucci (June 21, 1811 - June 25, 1868) was an Italian physicist and neurophysiologist who was a pioneer in the study of bioelectricity.

John A. Wheeler-1993

Rumford Gold Medal

The Rumford Medal is awarded biennially (in even years), by the Royal Society of London for "an outstandingly important recent discovery in the field of thermal or optical properties of matter and their applications, made by a scientist working in Europe, noting that Rumford was concerned to see recognized discoveries that tended to promote the good of mankind".

Ilya Prigogine-1976

“In recognition of his distinguished contributions to the theory of irreversible thermodynamics.”

Wolf Prize

John A. Wheeler-1997

“For his seminal contributions to black holes physics, to quantum gravity, and to the theories of nuclear scattering and nuclear fission.”

With his analysis of the fate of cold massive objects, Professor John A. Wheeler catalyzed the emergence of black hole physics. Wheeler recognized that black holes are sinks of information, enunciated the highly influential principle of black hole uniqueness, “black holes have no hair”, and laid (with Regge) the foundations of black hole stability theory. To face the challenge posed by total gravitational collapse, he formulated the basis of canonical quantum gravity theory, including geometrodynamics, superspace, and (with B. DeWitt) the celebrated Wheeler-DeWitt equation. Well before the discovery of pulsars, he recognized that the Crab supernova remnant should be energized by a magnetized spinning neutron star. In the heyday of nuclear physics, he introduced the concept of the S-matrix (scattering matrix), which is now used in many branches of physical science, and (with Bohr) originated the theory of nuclear fission. His views of the role of the quantum principle in physics are among the most farseeing of our time. In the course of his long career, he trained and stimulated several generations of physicists.

John Archibald Wheeler of the Princeton University and the University of Texas at Austin, was cited in the Wolf Prize in Physics for leading the development of black hole physics. After recognizing that any large collection of cold matter has no choice but to yield to the pull of gravity and undergo total collapse, Wheeler in 1968 dubbed the resulting object a “black hole”. Black holes have since become focus in gravitation theory, astrophysics, and elementary particle theory. Many features of the modern theory of black holes were developed by Wheeler and his students.

When a cold mass is not big enough to collapse to a black hole, it forms, according to theory, a neutron star, a body of nuclear matter the size of a medium city, but with a mass of the sun. In 1966, Wheeler suggested that the energy required to power the Crab Nebula, a glowing gas cloud in the Taurus constellation , the Bull, known to be the remnant of the fatal explosion of a star observed in 1054, could come from a spinning neutron star, embedded in the Nebula. A year later radioastronomers discovered the first pulsars, which were quickly identified with the previously hypothetical neutron stars. The discovery of a pulsar in the Crab Nebula verified Wheeler’s imaginative prediction.

On the eve of World War II, Wheeler, working with Niels Bohr, developed the theory of nuclear fission, which quantifies the mechanism whereby heavy nuclei break apart to free energy and neutrons that can initiate a nuclear chain reaction. Both the atomic bomb and nuclear power reactors were designed in accordance with this theory. John A. Wheeler is famous as a teacher, and during his long career has trained and stimulated generations of physicists. The great American theorist, Richard Feynman, was his first doctoral student.


Allan H. McDonald-2020

“For pioneering theoretical and experimental work on twisted bilayer graphene.”

Since the 2004 groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material -graphene, several research groups were soon studying the properties of twisted bilayer graphene. Graphene is a significant foundation for an entirely new generation of technologies. The hope is that graphene-based applications will benefit the environment and reduce costs. Electronic and computer industry requires materials whose conductance can be controlled.

The work of Jarillo-Herrero, MacDonald and Bistrizer has shown that the conductance properties of graphene interfaces can be controlled via the spatial misfit angle between the layers and then at certain angles the electrons exhibit surprising physical behavior. This physical discovery has the potential of leading to an energy revolution.

In 2011, a group led by Allan Macdonald, a theoretical physicist from the University of Texas, researched an intriguing behavior of twisted bilayer graphene, where the atomic lattices of two stacked graphene layers are laterally rotated with respect to each other by a small misfit angle. According to the calculations of MacDonald and Bistrizer (who did his post-doctoral thesis under the supervision of MacDonald at that time), the tunneling velocity of electrons between the layers depends on the misfit angle and completely vanishes at the “magic angle” of 1.1 degrees. It was hoped that this discovery would lead to the creation of a new type of super-conductor, namely a material that allows electrical current to pass with no impedance and with no energy loss.

The original paper by MacDonald and Bistrizer, which describes their discovery, was not received with enthusiasm by the scientific community and was even forgotten for several years.

At the same time, Jarillo-Herrero was working on twisted bilayer graphene in his lab at MIT. He became convinced that the ideas expressed by Macdonald and Bistrizer had substance.

His research team therefore invested considerable efforts in creating and measuring twisted bilayer graphene of various twist angles. The experiments proved successful in 2017 when it was found that positioning the layers at an angle of 1.1 degrees relative to one another (“the magic angle”) resulted in unusual electrical properties, precisely as MacDonald and Bistrizer have suggested. In this position, at sufficiently low temperatures, the electrons move from one layer to the other, creating a lattice with unusual qualities. The paper that described the phenomenon, which was published in Nature in 2018, revolutionized physics and triggered a flood of additional papers.

The discovery opens the door to building a super-conductor from bilayer graphene, in which electron movement is completely controlled by external electrical current. This electrical behavior resembles the behavior of copper-based superconductors called Cuprates. Cuprates demonstrate electrical conductivity with no resistance in relatively high temperatures compared with other super-conductors. For this reason, Cuprates now form a source of hope for realizing the dream of electrical conductivity with no energy loss at temperatures close to room temperature. If this mission is achieved, it would lead to a far-reaching energy revolution. However, one obstacle that prevents this revolution is that we do not yet have a theory that explains the behavior of superconductors at high temperatures. In the absence of a solid theoretical foundation, it is difficult to develop new, better materials. This is one of the reasons for the excitement around the discovery of bilayer graphene and the magic angle, which allows us to understand better what happens on the microscopic level when transitioning from a conductor to a superconductor state.

Allan H. MacDonald (1951, Canada) received the B.Sc. degree from St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada in 1973 and the M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from the University of Toronto in 1974 and 1978, respectively. He was a member of the research staff of the National Research Council of Canada from 1978 to 1987 and has taught at Indiana University (1987-2000) and the University of Texas at Austin (2000-present) where he now holds the Sid W. Richardson Chair in Physics. He has contributed to research on the quantum Hall effect, electronic band structure theory, magnetism, and superconductivity among a variety of other topics. Prof. MacDonald is a fellow of the American Physical Society, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the US National Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the Herzberg Medal, the Ernst Mach Honorary Medal, and the Buckley Prize.

Franklin Medal

Steven Weinberg-2004



Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize

Allen H. MacDonald-2007




James Clerk Maxwell Prize For Plasmas Physics


Marshall N. Rosenbluth-1976




Daniel H. Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics

Steven Weinberg-1977

Franklin Institute’s John Price Wetherill Medal

Robert Herman-1980

W. K. H. Panofsky Prize in Experimental Particle Physics

Roy F. Schwitters-1996

Canadian Association of Physicists Herzberg Medal

This medal is awarded for outstanding achievement in any field of research by a Canadian physicist who has successfully defended their doctoral thesis within the last 12 years at the time of the award, excluding an allowance of one year per child for parental leave.

Allan H. McDonald-1987

Fluid Dynamics Prize

To recognize and encourage outstanding achievement in fluid dynamics research.

Harry L. Swinney-1995

"In recognition of his definitive characterizing of the onset of turbulence, his pioneering investigations of chaotic advection and fluid dynamics in rotating flows, and his discoveries and insights concerning pattern formation in chemical dynamics using novel experimental techniques. Professor Swinney's efforts were the first to bridge the gap between nonlinear dynamical systems theory and laboratory investigations of flow phenomena. His ability to bring together different fields of science to explore new ground with rigor, dedication, and enthusiasm is truly remarkable."

Virgil Kauffman Gold Medal

The Virgil Kauffman Gold Medal is awarded to a person who, in the unanimous opinion of the SEG Honors and Awards Committee and the Executive Committee, has recently made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of the science of geophysical exploration.

Lucien J. B. LaCoste-1967

"For his remarkable achievement in building shipborne gravity meters.."

I. I. Rabi Prize

To recognize and encourage outstanding research in Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics by investigators who have held a Ph. D. for 10 years or less.

Mark G. Raizen-1999

"For his pioneering advances in the experimental study of atom optics, and especially for the insightful connections he has developed between this discipline and studies of chaotic dynamics, condensed matter physics, and dissipative quantum systems."

Alan T. Waterman Award of the National Sciences Foundation

The Alan T. Waterman Award is the highest honor awarded by the National Science Foundation. Since 1975, when Congress established the award to honor the agency’s first director, the annual award has been bestowed upon individuals who have demonstrated exceptional individual achievement in scientific or engineering research of sufficient quality to place them at the forefront of their peers.

Roy F. Schwitters

"For his contributions to the understanding of the basic structure of matter through experiments that discovered and explored an entirely new collection of subatomic particles. The experiments led to the interpretation of the new particles as being composed of simpler constituents, possessing a new property of matter."

Padma Bhushan (Order of the Lotus) - decoration presented by President of India

E. C. G. Sudarshan-1976


The Padma Bhushan award is an Indian civilian decoration established 2 January 1954 by the President of India. It stands third in the hierarchy of civilian awards. It is awarded to recognize distinguished service of a high order to the nation, in any field.

Satyendranath Bose Medal - Indian National Science Academy

E. C. G. Sudarshan-1976


Max Planck Research Award for Physics

Mark Raizen-2002


David Adler Lectureship Award-APS

Jim Chelikowsky-2006

Pioneers of Underwater Acoustics Medal

Claude W. Horton Sr.-1980

National Academy of Sciences

he National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is an honorific society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare.
The NAS was established by an Act of Congress that was signed by President Abraham Lincoln on March 3, 1863, at the height of the Civil War, which calls upon the NAS to "investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science or art" whenever called upon to do so by any department of the government.

“Members and foreign associates of the Academy are elected in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research; election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded a scientist or engineer.”

John A. Wheeler-1952
Yuval Ne’eman-1972
Steven Weinberg-1972
Bryce DeWitt-1990
Harry Swinney-1992
Allan MacDonald-2010
Katherine Freese-2020

American Academy of Arts and Letters

Bryce DeWitt
Allen H. MacDonald
Yuval Ne’eman -Honorary Member
Roy F. Schwitters
Harry L. Swinney
Steven Weinberg

National Academy of Engineering

Robert Herman-1978

Draper Medal of National Academy of Sciences

“For an original investigation in the astronomical sciences.”


Robert Herman and Ralph Alpher-1993

“For their insight and skill in developing a physical model of the evolution of the universe and in predicting the existence of a microwave background radiation years before this radiation was serendipitously discovered; through this work they were participants in one of the major intellectual achievements of the twentieth century.”

Nicholson Medal for Human Outreach

Marshall N. Rosenbluth-2000

University of Texas Presidential Citation

E.C. G. Sudarshan-2006

John von Neumann Theory Prize

The John von Neumann Theory prize is awarded annually to a scholar (or scholars in the case of joint work) who has made fundamental, sustained contributions to theory in operations research and the management sciences.

Robert Herman-1993

Medal for Distinguished Achievement, American Society of the French Legion of Honor

Cecile DeWitte-Morette

Cataldo Agostinelli and Angiola Gili Agostinelli International Prize

The Agostinelli Prize is awarded every other year to an eminent scholar, Italian or foreign, in the fields of Pure and Applied Mechanics or Mathematical Physics. The prize is awarded by the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, the oldest scientific academy worldwide, which included Galileo, Einstein, Fermi, and Pasteur as members.


Philip Morrison-2013

"Morrison's scientific output is of indubitable scientific significance in the field of nonlinear and nondissipative dynamical systems and it touches upon a variety of both fundamental questions and questions relevant to the application of fluid mechanics and plasma physics."

Boltzmann Medal

The Boltzmann Medal is the most important prize awarded to physicist that obtain new results concerning statistical mechanics; it is named after the celebrated physicist Ludwig Boltzmann. The Boltzmann Medal is awarded once every three years by the Commission on Statistical Physics of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, during the STATPHYS conference.
The award consists of a gilded medal; its front carries the inscription Ludwig Boltzmann, 1844--1906.

Harry Swinney-2013


“for his ingenious and challenging experiments which have had a large impact on many areas of statistical physics.”

Aneesur Rahman Prize for Computational Physics

To recognize and encourage outstanding achievement in computational physics research. The prize consists of $5,000, an allowance for travel to the meeting of the American Physical Society at which the prize is awarded and at which the recipient will deliver the Rahman Lecture, and a certificate citing the contributions made by the recipient. The prize will be presented annually.


James R. Chelikowsky-2013

"For computational applications of quantum theories to understand and predict material properties."


IUPAP C10 Young Scientist Prize

Purpose: The IUPAP C10 Young Scientist Prize recognizes exceptional achievement in the study of the structure and dynamics of condensed matter by scientists at a relatively junior stage of their career. One prize per year will be awarded on the basis of nominations received. The recipient must be no more than eight years post PhD (excluding career interruptions) by the deadline of the competition, and is expected to have displayed significant achievement and exceptional promise for future achievement in an area of experimental, computational or theoretical condensed matter physics.

Keji Lai-2015

“For his outstanding contribution in nanoscale impedance imaging of strongly correlated and low-dimensional quantum materials.’

Edward A. Bouchet Award

Purpose: This award promotes the participation of underrepresented minorities in physics by identifying and recognizing a distinguished minority physicist who has made significant contributions to physics research and the advancement of underrepresented minority scientists.

Pablo Laguna-2016

"For contributions to numerical relativity and astrophysics; in particular, on the simulation of colliding black holes."

Fusion Power Associates Distinguished Career Award

Purpose: Distinguised Career Awards are presented to individuals who have made distinguished, lifelong, career contributions to fusion development. 

Richard Hazeltine-2022

John Dawson Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research

Purpose: The Dawson Award recognizes a particular recent outstanding achievement in plasma physics research.

Dennis L. Matthews-1990 (University of Texas Graduate at Livermore National Laboratory)
(with E. Michael Campbell, Mordecai D. Rosen, Peter L. Hagelstein and Szymon Suckwer.

"For the first laboratory demonstration of a soft X-Ray laser, achieved through pioneering laser target design, theoretical modeling of the states of highly ionized atoms in laser produced plasmas, and novel spectroscopic diagnostics of such plasmas"

Todd E. Evans (University of Texas Graduate at General Atomics) -2018
(with Max E. Fensfermacher and Richard Moyer)

""For the first experimental demonstration of the stabilization of edge localized modes in high-confinement diverted discharges by application of very small edge-resonant magnetic perturbations, leading to the adoption of suppression coils in the ITER design.""

Philip J. Morrison-2023
(with Eric Sonnendrücker, Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics and Hong Qin, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory;

"For establishing and shaping the field of structure-preserving geometric algorithms for plasma physics."

Teaching Awards

College of Natural Sciences Foundation Advisory Council Teaching Excellence Award

Melvin Oakes-1981
John David Gavenda-1993
George Shubeita-2010

President's Associates Teaching Excellence Awards

Melvin Oakes-1985
Austin Gleeson-1986
Charles Chiu-1990
Greg Sitz-1997
Michael Downer-2001
Vernita Gordon-2019

Jean Holloway Award for Excellence

Melvin Oakes-1992
Austin Gleeson-2008

Chancellor's Council Outstanding Teaching Award Prize

Austin Gleeson-1976
Melvin Oakes-1992

Friar Centennial Teaching Fellowship

Charles Chiu-1998

UT Academy of Distinguished Teachers

Melvin Oakes-1995
Charles Chiu-1998
Greg Sitz-2010
Michael Downer-2011
John Markert-2015
Sonja Paban-2020
Michael Marder-2023



Dads' Association Centennial Teaching Fellowships

Philip J. Morrison-1988
Charles Chiu-1998
Michael Downer-2008

Minnie Stevens Piper Professorship

Melvin Oakes-2003
Michael Downer-2012

The William David Blunk Memorial Professorship

Melvin Oakes-1986-87
Greg Sitz-2012-13

Chad Oliver Teaching Award

Austin Gleeson-1999

The Amoco Foundation Outstanding Teaching Award

Austin Gleeson-1977

College of Natural Sciences Teaching Excellence Award

Lothar Frommhold-1982
Tom Griffy-1998
John Markert-1999
Richard Hazeltine-2000
Michael Downer-2001
Roger Bengtson-2002
Jerry Hoffmann-2003
Sasha Kopp-2004
Sonia Paban-2005
Willy Fischler-2006
Josh Klein-2007Natural Sciences Council Teaching Award
Philip Morrison-1982
Duane Dicus-2008
Todd Ditmire-2009
Greg Sitz-2010
Jerry Hoffmann-2011
Gregory Fiete-2012
Philip Morrison-2013
Richard Fitzpatrick-2014
John Markert-2014
Roy Schwitters-2016

Natural Sciences Council Teaching Award

Philip Morrison-1982

Robert W. Hamilton Faculty Author Award

John Wheeler-2001
John Markert-2009

Joe and Betty Branson Ward Teaching Excellence Award

Michael Marder-2010

CNS Outreach Award
Saturday Morning Teacher Workshop(SMTW)-Department of Physics-2003
In Picture L to R. Karl Trappe (SMTW), Mel Oakes (SMTW), Sharee Arey(IFS staff award), Karen Cluiss (IFS staff award), Pat Morgan (SMTW), Dean Maryann Rankin, Jerry Hoffmann (Teaching Award) and Physics Chair Roy Schwitters
Not Present: Pete Antoniewicz (SMTW), Bill McCormick (SMTW), Jack Turner (SMTW).