DAMOPC Prizes and Awards

The Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics Canada (DAMOPC)

Doctoral Thesis Prize

The Division awards a biennial PhD thesis prize in atomic, molecular, and optical physics. Nominations are accepted until the application deadline of 31 January of even years (next deadline: 31 Jan 2020), and the winner is announced by March 1 of that year. The winner will receive a certificate and a cash award of $500, and will be expected to deliver an invited talk at the next Canadian Association of Physicists Annual Congress. Up to $1000 of the winner’s costs for participation in the CAP Congress will be reimbursed.

Eligibility & Procedure

To be eligible, a nominee must have undertaken the PhD in the areas of atomic and molecular physics and photon interactions at a Canadian University and completed all Ph.D. requirements at that University within 1 Jan 2018 – 31 Dec 2019, or an equivalent period of 24 months prior to the deadline for applications.

The nomination package must include: a nomination letter, the PhD thesis, an external examiner report or a letter of support from an external examiner (or letter of support from an external expert in cases where the institution does not have external examiner participation in thesis defenses), and an additional letter of support (e.g. from another member of the PhD defense examination committee). Emailed nomination packages are strongly preferred and will be acknowledged soon after receipt. Please send complete nomination packages to the DAMOPC chair.

The prize will be decided in February of odd years by the DAMOPC Executive and announced in March. The Executive may seek external input to evaluate a nomination. In the case of a conflict of interest, the Executive member concerned will not participate in discussions, evaluation or ranking of the thesis concerned. If an Executive member is excluded due to conflict of interest from more than one thesis evaluation, or if there is only one submission, the remaining members of the Executive will seek a replacement for this Executive member from the DAMOPC membership. The Executive reserves the right to make multiple awards and to split the prize and conference participation subsidy accordingly. The Executive also reserves the right not to make an award in the given year if the nominations do not meet an acceptable standard.


Samuel Beaulieu (INRS): “Probing femtosecond and attosecond electronic and chiral dynamics: high-order harmonic generation, XUV free induction decay, photoelectron spectroscopy and Coulomb explosion”.

Past winners

  • 2017: Martin Bittter (BC): ““Quantum coherent control of laser-kicked molecular rotors”
  • 2015: Alma Bardon (Toronto): “Dynamics of a Unitary Fermi Gas”
  • 2013: Julien Bertrand (Ottawa): “Homodyne High-Harmonic Spectroscopy: Toward Real-Time Tomographic Imaging of Unimolecular Chemical Reactions”
  • 2011: Lindsay LeBlanc (Toronto): “Exploring many-body physics with ultracold atoms”

CAP Outstanding Student Paper Award in AMO Physics

Starting in 2013, the the CAP Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics (DAMOPC) will award student paper prizes at joint APS/CAP meetings. These meetings occur every three years, alternately in Canada and the US. This award, whose official name is the “Canadian Association of Physicists outstanding student paper award in atomic, molecular, and optical physics”, aims to recognize graduate students who have led excellent work, and are presenting it at a joint DAMOP meeting. The work must already be published or in publically accessible preprint form (ie, on the arXiv). It is open to students from any country, given the criteria below.

Eligibility & Procedure

The criteria for eligibility are

  • candidate is a graduate student
  • candidate is the primary (normally first) author on a published (or arXiv preprint) work. In cases where primary authorship is unclear, it should be addressed in the letter of support by the advisor.
  • abstract is selected for an oral presentation at DAMOP meeting
  • the student is a member of CAP, APS, or an international cognate society recognizing reciprocal member benefits
  • the student is nominated by the announced deadline, typically two weeks prior to the meeting.

Nominations consist of a letter of nomination by the student’s advisor, and a citation to the published or preprint manuscript. Works in progress (ie, for which there is no publically available manuscript or paper) are not eligible. The nomination letter should be addressed to the current chair of DAMOPC division of the CAP.

Outstanding papers will be chosen based on the significance of the result, the quality of the oral presentation, the quality of the written manuscript, and the ability of the student to respond to questions during the session.

Depending on the number of entries, talks will be split among a panel of judges drawn from CAP and APS members. At least two judges would need to be at each talk, however it is understood that the panel may be split since many parallel sessions operate at once. The panel will confer by a video or phone conference in the week following the meeting (so that eligible talks can include those in the last session of the meeting), and a winner is announced on DAMOP and CAP web sites and newsletters. The number of awards will depend on the number and quality of entries, and ultimately decided by the panel. Between zero and four awards could be given. Each outstanding student paper award is accompanied by a bursary of CAD$300.

CAP Congress Best Student Presentation Competition

Every year at the CAP congress, a competition is held for best student presentation. There is both a division-specific competition, and an overall competition. The intent of all these competitions is to encourage graduate students to present their research work to and interact with the Canadian physics community at an early stage in their careers. Students should present the work and take primary responsibility for the content of the presentation as well as the written abstract and, if selected as a winner, the extended summary for Physics in Canada. Undergraduate students who fulfill these criteria are also welcome to participate in the competition

Details vary from year to year, and can be found on the Congress page itself. However typically guidelines are the following:

  • candidate is a graduate or undergraduate student, and a member of the CAP
  • candidate indicates their intent to enter the competition when submitting their abstract to the CAP Congress
  • there will be parallel competitions for poster and oral presentations. Note that due to the limited availability of oral presentation slots at the Congress, some applicants for an oral presentation will be asked to present a poster.

Winners of the CAP subject division and the externally sponsored oral competitions will be announced at the CAP’s congress desk on Thursday of the congress week. Each winner will receive a ticket to the congress banquet which takes place that evening. Winners of the CAP subject division and externally sponsored poster competitions will each receive a ticket to the Thursday evening banquet when the finalists are announced during the poster session.