TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — MagLab Chief Scientist Laura H. Greene has been named as the 2024 recipient of the Hans Christian Oersted Medal. This prestigious award from the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) recognizes those who've had an "outstanding, widespread, and lasting impact on the teaching of physics."
"It's just such an honor," said Greene, "I'm really humbled and excited about it. AAPT is a wonderful organization. It doesn’t just celebrate physics, it celebrates the teaching and the communication of physics."
Greene's award recognizes her work as "a leading advocate for diversity in science, a champion for women in science and engineering, science diplomacy, ethics, and human rights," AAPT said in announcing the award.
In addition to her role as the MagLab's Chief Scientist and the Marie Krafft Professor of Physics at Florida State University, Greene has held leadership roles in many of the nation's most prestigious science organizations, including president of the American Physical Society (APS), a member of the Board of Directors for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and Vice President for Ethics and Outreach for the International Union for Pure and Applied Physics. She currently serves on President Biden’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). Greene is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics (U.K.), AAAS, and the APS. Greene's awards include: the Gold Medal from the Tallahassee Scientific Society; the Five Sigma Award for Advocacy in Science policy and the Maria Goeppert Mayer Award from the APS; the E.O. Lawrence Award in Materials Research from the Department of Energy; The Award of Excellence from Bellcore, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Greene is a respected researcher on quantum materials and the mechanisms of unconventional superconductivity, has co-authored more than 200 publications, and has presented more than 700 invited and plenary talks. Over her career, she has mentored countless undergraduate and graduate students and participated in many K-12 and public outreach events, including, FSU’s Saturday Morning Physics, the Flying Circus of Physics, and the MagLab Open House.
"You put a lot of time, effort, and thought into mentoring your students, and you hope that they are successful." Greene said, "There's almost nothing better than seeing a student succeed, thanking you, or congratulating you!"
The Oersted Medal has been awarded since 1936 to many of the biggest names in physics, including numerous Nobel laureates. In being named an Oersted winner, Greene joins the ranks of famed astronomer and communicator Carl Sagan, quantum physics pioneer Richard Feynman, and the “Queen of Carbon Science” Mildred Dresselhaus. The award is named for Hans Christian Oersted, the 19th century Danish physicist who discovered that electric currents cause a magnetic field.
The American Association of Physics Teachers was established in 1930 and is considered the premier professional society established to advance the greater good through physics education.
The 2024 Oersted Medal will be awarded at the AAPT's Winter Meeting in January.