The AAPT-ALPhA Award

Honoring Undergraduate Physics Student Contributions to the Advanced Laboratory

This award was established to recognize outstanding work in the development of an advanced laboratory apparatus or experiment by an undergraduate physics student at his or her home institution within the greater United States. National recognition of these projects will encourage their proliferation and help build the next generation of experimental physicists and educators.

The award is given annually, if a worthy candidate or group of candidates is nominated.


The AAPT-ALPhA Award will be given to a student, or group of students, who have built (and possibly developed) an advanced laboratory experiment that will become a new part of their school’s advanced laboratory program.

The Award will be given for the development of any experiment new to the home department, either based on the literature or being used at other institutions. An experiment new to the advanced laboratory canon would be truly exceptional and is not required for this award.

This work will have been carried out as a senior project, senior thesis, or its equivalent. A project developed over several years, by a succession of students, could also be eligible. In such cases, the Award would be shared among the several students involved.

Recognition will also be given to the supervising faculty.

The Award

The Award includes a plaque with the citation, travel expenses to the AAPT meeting at which the award is presented, an invited talk at the same AAPT meeting, and a cash honorarium of $4,000.00.

The faculty supervisor will receive a citation and travel expenses to the same AAPT meeting.

The awards will be presented at the winter AAPT meeting following the academic year in which the work was completed.

Nomination and Selection Process

A standing committee designated by the Executive Boards of AAPT and ALPhA is responsible for the selection. In choosing the award recipient, the committee will solicit and examine all relevant documents including photographs of the apparatus, mechanical drawings, relevant circuit diagrams, computer software, actual experimental data and student analysis, instructor’s manual, student manual (for future students), and the candidate’s final report. The committee will designate multiple finalists (if available) and carry out an in-depth interview with each one. This might be carried out by various electronic and telecommunication technologies. The award will only be conferred if the committee believes the work by the student or students is of exceptional quality, worthy of a national award comparable to the honor given for research in the Apker Award.

Nominations of qualified women and members of underrepresented minority groups are especially encouraged.

Detailed Submission Instructions will be Posted in the Spring of 2014 on the official AAPT-ALPhA Award website. Thank you for your patience.

Time Line

As of this preliminary posting, the deadline for submission for the first award is September 1, 2015. It will be for an advanced laboratory experiment completed in the 2014-15 academic year.

The first award will be presented at the 2016 AAPT Winter Meeting in New Orleans.


TeachSpin, Inc. has agreed to fund this award for the first five years. During this period, AAPT and ALPhA will be soliciting contributions to fully fund a permanent endowment for the award.

Donate to this award