October 14, 2015

Edward Witten Wins Inaugural APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research

COLLEGE PARK, MD – Edward Witten, of the Institute for Advanced Study, is the first person to win the American Physical Society’s Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research. The medal recognizes contributions of the highest level that advance our knowledge and understanding of the physical universe in all its facets, and is presented along with a $50,000 prize.

The 2016 medal citation honors Witten for “discoveries in the mathematical structure of quantum field theory that have opened new paths in all areas of quantum physics.”

Witten is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading theorists in a number of areas, including string theory and quantum gravity. He is also the originator of M-theory, which resolved perceived conflicts between five competing string theories and sparked a resurgence of research widely known as the second superstring revolution.

“The Society is extremely pleased to award its first Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research to Professor Witten,” said APS President Samuel Aronson. “Witten’s achievements in mathematical physics have had profound effects on many areas of active theoretical research. This award sets a very high standard for this prestigious new prize.”

The APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research is the largest Society award eligible to physicists without regard to discipline. The medal is funded by a generous endowment from entrepreneur Jay Jones.

“I believe that science is responsible for all human progress and the advance of civilization,” said Jay Jones, “and that in its search for the nature of our universe, physics is the most fundamental of the sciences. Therefore, I am very pleased at the opportunity the American Physical Society has given me to recognize and encourage fundamental research by the creation of this award.”

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The American Physical Society is a nonprofit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy, and international activities. APS represents over 55,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories, and industry in the United States and throughout the world. Society offices are located in College Park, Maryland (Headquarters), Ridge, New York, and Washington, D.C.