Recently, the Executive Board of The American Physical Society announced that the 2015 Jonathan Reichert and Barbara Wolff-Reichert Award for Excellence in Advanced Laboratory Instruction will be awarded to Physics Professor Carl Akerlof and Director of the Advanced Laboratories Ramón Torres-Isea at the APS March 2015 meeting in San Antonio, Texas. The APS prize was established in 2012 to recognize and honor outstanding achievement in teaching, sustaining and enhancing an advanced undergraduate laboratory course or courses at U.S. institutions.

The two recipients are honored “For dedication to the spirit of hands-on experimental instruction in Physics, inspirational teaching in the Advanced Undergraduate Laboratory of the University of Michigan, and continued contributions to physics laboratory instruction in the United States.” Akerlof and Torres-Isea have been working together for the past six years to broaden the range of experiments available to students while fulfilling a mandate from the College to teach the rigorous writing and communication skills demanded by a scientific career.

“The recognition provided by the Jonathan Reichert and Barbara Wolff-Reichert Award helps remind us all that physics is not simply a branch of applied mathematics – there is an elusive and often beautiful underlying reality that has sustained my fascination for these many decades,” said Professor Akerlof.

The curriculum for the University of Michigan advanced physics labs for undergraduates has been designed to introduce students to a broad range of phenomena that have marked the growth of this field over the past century. This ranges from the creation of antimatter to observations of the cosmic microwave background radiation from the very early Universe. At the same time, the U-M Physics instructors have sought to teach a broader variety of skills than covered by traditional lecture courses to enable students to successfully pursue rewarding careers in the physical sciences.

Torres-Isea said, “I am very grateful that our faculty maintains the necessary constant review of our curriculum and that the Physics Department and College of LS&A have provided the resources that we have requested over the years.” His work has focused on physics laboratory instruction for the past twenty years, fourteen of which have been in the advanced physics laboratories at the University of Michigan.

Find out more about the Physics Department Advanced Labs