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Physics Honors & Highlights

AAAS LogoFellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

AAAS fellows are elected by their peers and recognized for meritorious efforts to advance science or its applications. The UT Physics Department faculty includes three members who have earned this honor:


Elbio Dagotto

Adriana Moreo

Lee Riedinger

Soren Sorensen

APS LogoFellows of the American Physical Society

The APS Fellowship Program was created to recognize members who may have made advances in physics through original research and publication, or made significant innovative contributions in the application of physics to science and technology. They may also have made significant contributions to the teaching of physics or service and participation in the activities of the Society. Fellowship is a distinct honor signifying recognition by one's professional peers. The following UT faculty members are APS Fellows:

batista Cristian Batista dagotto Elbio Dagotto greene Geoff Greene fitzsimmons Mike Fitzsimmons
grzywacz Robert Grzywacz jones Kate Jones moreo Adriana Moreo mezzacappa Anthony Mezzacappa
papenbrock Thomas Papenbrock riedinger Lee Riedinger sorensen Soren Sorensen weitering Hanno Weitering

See our departmental awards for undergraduates, graduate students, service to our teaching labs and tutoring program, outstanding teaching, and distinguished alumni.

Selected Physics Honors
  • Professor Adriana Moreo was elected a Fellow of the AAAS
  • Professor Kate Jones was elected a Fellow of the APS
  • Professor Soren Sorensen was named a UT Chancellor's Professor
  • Graduate Students Josh Barrow, Philip Dee, and Andrew Lopez won Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) awards from the U.S. Department of Energy
  • Graduate Student Jason Bane won a JSA (Jefferson Science Associates) Graduate Fellowship
  • Undergraduates Brandon Barker and Brittney Contreras won scholarships (SPS Leadership and Aysen Tunca Memorial, respectively) from the national Society of Physics Students organization
  • Graduate Students Toby King, Dave McCallister, and Nathan Traynor were recognized at the Graduate Student Senate Awards Ceremony: King was honored for Excellence in Research; McCallister for Excellence in Service; and Traynor for Excellence in Teaching
  • Physics faculty and staff won 11 Chancellor's Honors at the university's annual honors banquet
  • Professors Stuart Elston, Robert Grzywacz, and Marianne Breinig were honored at the Arts and Sciences annual Faculty Awards Banquet for excellence in advising, research, and teaching
  • Robert Grzywacz was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society
  • Lucas Platter won an NSF CAREER grant, bringing the department's total to five in five years
  • The physics department won several top honors at the annual Chancellor's Banquet, including Macebearer and the Alexander Prize
  • Professor Kate Jones and Associate Professor Haidong Zhou were recognized for excellence in research and creative achievement at the College of Art and Sciences awards ceremony
  • Undergraduate Peyton Nanney was recognized for giving the best student oral presentation at the SESAPS meeting
  • Physics Major Louis Varriano was named a Torchbearer, the highest honor the university bestows on undergraduate students
  • Undergraduate Meg Stuart was one of nine UT students offered prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards for the 2017–18 academic year
  • Graduate Students Gray Yarbrough, Andrew Mogan, and Ryan Rawl won awards from the DOE Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) program
  • Matthew Musgrave (PhD, 2014) won an Infinite Kilometer Award at MIT, where he’s a postdoc with the Laboratory for Nuclear Science
  • UT Physicists were among the scientists who won the Breakthrough Awards Fundamental Physics Prize
  • UT's Society of Physics Students won the national Blake Lilly Prize
  • Jesse Buffaloe was recognized for presenting the best undergraduate poster at SESAPS
  • The NovA experiment, which includes leadership from UT Physics, won a DOE Secretary's Award of Excellence
  • Meg Stuart won a Best Presentation award at the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics

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Scientific Leadership
  • The department hosted the 2018 Southeastern Section of the American Physical Society (SESAPS) meeting. The objective of the Section is the advancement and diffusion of knowledge of physics within the Southeastern region of the United States, including the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The Section brings together physicists once a year for a November meeting.
  • Professors Geoff Greene and Kate Jones are members of the Department of Energy/National Science Foundation Nuclear Science Advisory Committee (NSAC). Established in 1977, the NSAC provides advice and recommendations on scientific, technical, and programmatic issues relating to the nuclear physics program.
  • Professor Michael Fitzsimmons began 2018 as vice president of the Materials Research Society, taking over as president in 2019 and past president in 2020. With a worldwide membership of more than 14,000, the MRS promotes communication and collaboration among researchers to advance interdisciplinary materials research and technology.
  • UT physicists are directors or co-directors of four UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory joint institutes: the Joint Institute for Advanced Materials (Hanno Weitering), the Joint Institute for Computational Sciences (Anthony Mezzacappa), the Joint Institute for Neutron Sciences (Alan Tennant), and the Joint Institute of Nuclear Physics and Applications (Robert Grzywacz).

A Commitment to Outreach
  • Our Saturday Morning Physics and Physics for Everyone programs offer non-technical lectures, especially for high school students and teachers. We have also started a QuarkNet outreach program at UT to tie area high schools and teachers to research at Fermilab.
  • Physics Professor George Siopsis is the Director of UT’s Governor’s Schools for Sciences and Engineering, which serves the top high school students in Tennessee through a four-week non-credit program each summer.
  • Our planetarium provides the lab setting for astronomy students and a powerful outreach tool for the department. Regularly-scheduled observation sessions on the roof of the physics building, along with special events, make our resources available to the public in an approachable, engaging fashion.
  • Our Society of Physics Students is among the most successful in the country, having won outstanding chapter awards every year since 2012 and the national Blake Lilly Prize in 2015 for their outstanding outreach efforts, including work with area schools and for the campus and general public via physics demonstrations and the annual pumpkin drop.

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