Physics at Virginia

Congratulations to the 2021 Physics Department Award Recipients!

Friday, May 28 2021

  • Outstanding Undergraduate Major Award in Physics

·Jillian Ticatch

  • The Steven Thornton Award in Physics Undergraduate Research

·Lingnan Shen, Advisor: Gia-wei Chern

  • 2021 Outstanding Graduate Research Award in Physics

·Shammi Tahura, Advisor: Kent Yagi

  • The Physics Community Leadership Award

·Morgan Waddy

  1. The Outstanding Undergraduate Physics Major Award is presented each year to the graduating physics major or majors with the best overall academic record in physics throughout their study at the University.  The winner will normally have completed a sequence of physics courses at, or beyond, that required for the Distinguished Majors Program.  The prize consists of a book, chosen by the winner, and $400.  In addition, the name of each year’s recipient is engraved upon a plaque displayed in the Physics Department Library. This year, the Outstanding Undergraduate Physics Major Award was presented to Jillian Ticatch. Congratulations Jillian!
  2. The Stephen Thornton Award in Physics Undergraduate Research: The UVA Department of Physics has established an endowment for an annual award that recognizes the most outstanding research project completed by an undergraduate physics major.  Each award winner receives $800 and has their name placed on a plaque prominently and permanently displayed in the physics library. Lingnan Shen received this award for his published research entitled, “Cell dynamics simulations of coupled charge and magnetic phase transformation”, which was performed under the guidance of Professor Gia-Wei Chern. Congratulations Lingnan!
  3. The Outstanding Graduate Student Research Award, which includes a check for $1,000, was presented to Shammi Tahura. Shammi will soon complete her dissertation entitled “Probing strong-field gravity with gravitational waves” under the supervision of Professor Kent Yagi.  Shammi has conducted theoretical cutting-edge research on testing General Relativity with colliding black holes and neutron stars through gravitational waves. This is an exciting and hot research topic in physics, as the Nobel Prize has been awarded to gravitational wave physicists in 2017 and black hole physicists last year. Shammi has tackled her thesis project from three different directions: (i) formulating a model-independent tests of gravity with gravitational waves, (ii) probing extra dimensions (as predicted by string theory) with gravitational waves, and (iii) computing gravitational-wave memory in theories beyond general relativity. Congratulations Shammi!
  4. Through the Physics Community Leadership Award, the Department of Physics formally recognizes students who make significant efforts to strengthen and enhance our community of scholars and researchers. The award, which includes a check for $300, is made only in cases of exceptional student contributions to making the department a more welcoming and inclusive environment for all, consistent with the values of our department. It is given to those who demonstrate a dedication to leadership, and/or the ability to create a setting in which the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion are respected and promoted. This year’s winner, Morgan Waddy, did both. Morgan was nominated by the membership of the Sigma Pi Sigma physics honor society, for her dedication to the Society of Physics Students during her two years of service as its President.  She has made major community contributions to the Physics and Astronomy departments, and she proudly promotes the community principles that we value.  Congratulations Morgan!