Prizes and Awards

History of Physics Essay Contest

Deadline: September 30, 2023

The Forum for the History and Philosophy of Physics (FHPP) of the American Physical Society is proud to hold an annual History of Physics Essay Contest. The contest aims to promote interest in the history of physics among those not, or not yet, professionally engaged in the field. Entries can address the work of individual physicists, teams of physicists, physics discoveries, or other appropriate topics. Entries should not exceed 2,500 words, including notes and references. Entries should be both scholarly and generally accessible to scientists and historians.

The contest is intended for undergraduate and graduate students, but is open to anyone without a PhD in physics or history. Entries with multiple authors will not be accepted. Entries will be judged on originality, clarity, and potential to contribute to the field. Previously published work, or excerpts thereof, will not be accepted. The winning essay will be published as a Back Page in APS News and its author will receive a cash award of $1,000 plus support for travel to an APS annual meeting to deliver a talk based on the essay. The judges may also designate one or more runners-up, and a cash award of $500 each.

Entries will be judged by members of the FHPP Executive Committee and are due by September 30, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. US Eastern Time. They should be submitted, as Word documents or PDFs, by emailing the FHPP Chair, Alberto Martinez,, with “Essay Contest” in the subject line. Entrants should supply their names, institutional affiliations (if any), mail and email addresses, and phone numbers. Winners will be announced by November 15, 2023.

Past Essay Contest Winners