APS announces winners for 2011

The American Physical Society (APS) has announced its awards for 2011, including some major prizes in particle physics and related fields.

With physics at the LHC having started during 2010, it is appropriate that the award that recognizes and encourages outstanding achievement in particle theory – the J J Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics for 2011– goes to Ian Hinchliffe of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and Kenneth Lane of Boston University, together with Estia Eichten and Chris Quigg of Fermilab. The four receive the prize for their "work, separately and collectively, to chart a course of the exploration of TeV-scale physics using multi-TeV hadron colliders". In 1983–1984, Eichten, Hinchliffe, Lane and Quigg wrote "Supercollider physics", a paper that explored the reach of high-energy hadron colliders for the physics of the Standard Model and for potential new physics associated with the electroweak breaking scale of 1 TeV. They have all since worked on various ideas that will be tested at the LHC. Hinchliffe served as ATLAS physics co-ordinator in 2006–2007 and is currently head of LBNL's ATLAS group.

Theoretical physics is also the focus this year of the Hans A Bethe Prize for outstanding work in theory, experiment or observation in the areas of astrophysics, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, or closely related fields. Christopher J Pethick of the Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics receives the 2011 award "for fundamental contributions to the understanding of nuclear matter at very high densities, the structure of neutron stars, their cooling, and the related neutrino processes and astrophysical phenomena".

The Lars Onsager Prize is another award for theoretical physics, in this case to recognize outstanding research in theoretical statistical physics, including the quantum fluids. The 2011 award goes to Alexander A Belavin of the L D Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics, Alexander B Zamolodchikov of Rutgers University and Alexander M Polyakov of Princeton University for their "outstanding contributions to theoretical physics, and especially for the remarkable ideas that they introduced concerning conformal field theory and soluble models of statistical mechanics in two dimensions".

Experimental physics is rewarded by a number of APS prizes. The W K H Panofsky Prize in Experimental Particle Physics is to recognize and encourage outstanding achievements in the field. The award for 2011 goes to A J Stewart Smith of Princeton University, Laurence Littenberg of Brookhaven National Laboratory and Douglas Bryman of the University of British Columbia. They receive the prize for "leadership in the measurement of kaon decay properties and in particular for the discovery and measurement of K+→π+vv".

The Robert R Wilson Prize for Achievement in the Physics of Particle Accelerators is also to recognize and encourage outstanding work in the field. Yaroslav Derbenev of the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility receives the 2011 prize for "a broad range of seminal contributions and innovations in beam physics, including theory and control of polarization with 'Siberian snakes', electron and ionization cooling, round-to-flat beam transformations, FELs and electron–ion colliders."

In nuclear physics the Tom W Bonner Prize is to recognize and encourage outstanding experimental research in nuclear physics, including the development of a method, technique or device that significantly contributes in a general way to nuclear-physics research. Richard F Casten of Yale University receives the 2011 prize for "providing critical insight into the evolution of nuclear structure with varying proton and neutron numbers and the discovery of a variety of dynamic symmetries in nuclei".

The Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize recognizes a most outstanding contribution to physics, by a single individual who also has exceptional skills in lecturing to diverse audiences. The 2011 award goes to Gerald Gabrielse of Harvard University "for novel methods that enable measurement of the electron magnetic moment and fine structure constant to unprecedented precision", as well as his skill in sharing this science with a range of audiences.

Finally, the Prize for a Faculty Member for Research in an Undergraduate Institution goes to Janet Seger of Creighton University. A member of the STAR collaboration at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider in Brookhaven, she receives the 2011 award for "significant contributions to the understanding of ultra‚Äëperipheral relativistic heavy-ion interactions, skill in involving undergraduates in a large experimental research collaboration and successful mentoring of undergraduates at her institution".

Pomeranchuk prizes for 2009 and 2010

André Martin of CERN and Valentine Zakharov of the Max Planck Institute for Physics, Munich, have been awarded the Pomeranchuk Prize for 2010. They received their awards in a ceremony on 1 October that was tempered by sadness. Both Nicola Cabibbo, laureate of the prize for 2009, and Alexei Kaidalov, chair of the prize committee, have recently passed away. During the ceremony opened by the new chair, Alexander Gorsky, the audience rose in memory of these two influential theoreticians. The prize, established by the Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics (ITEP) in Moscow, is given in memory of Isaak Pomeranchuk.

Cabibbo was awarded the 2009 prize for his outstanding contribution to elementary particle physics – the realization of the idea of mixing in weak interactions, which paved the way to the Standard Model. Boris Ioffe of ITEP also received the 2009 prize, for his pioneering work on CP violation, the elucidation of the space-time picture in deep-inelastic scattering and for important results in perturbative QCD.

Martin received the 2010 prize for his work on analytic properties of scattering amplitudes that led to the Froissart–Martin bound on the growth of cross-sections with energy, while Zakharov was honoured for work including the establishment of QCD sum rules and the computation of precise β-functions in supersymmetric quantum field theory.

The ceremony for the 2009 prize was postponed until this year at Cabibbo's request but sadly he died before it took place. The diploma was sent to the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, where it was delivered to his family at the ceremony for the award of the Dirac Medal – also to Cabibbo – on 8 November.