"TEACHERS AND STUDENT PRIZES" in the Department of Physics and Astronomy

  • Founder and Sponsor: Dr. Sultana N. Nahar
  • Establishment, March 2015



    Winners of 2016 (with certificates from right): Outstanding Research - Prof. T. Sakamoto, Best Teaching - Prof. Gil Paz, Advisor of Dr Sharmine Alam for the best Ph.D. thesis. Others from right: Prof. J.M. Wadehra (permanent of the Selection committee), Prof. Sultana N. Nahar of the Ohio State University (sponsor), Prof. David Cinabro (Chair), Prof. Ratna Naik (past Chair), iii) Women in Physics, WSU, 2012

  • Under a STEM scheme, two annual prizes for the faculty members and one for a student have been established in the Department of Physics and Astronomy of Wayne State University

  • Teachers prizess:
    - One prize is for distinction in teaching
    - one prize is for distinction in research

  • Student prize:
    - One annual prize for the best Ph.D. dissertation

  • The pledge was accepted by Wayne State University in March 2015


  • The objective is to enhance academic excellence and research program in the Department of Physics and Astronomy of Wayne State University


  • Completing the process of establishing the prizes; Vice President of Research Professor Stephen M. Lanier (rightmost), Dean of Sciences Professor Wayne Raskind (2nd from left), Physics and Astronomy Chair Professor Ratna Naik (left) and Professor J.M. Wadehra (2nd from right) on behalf of Sultana N. Nahar


    1. Vice Presdient of Research,
    2. Dean of Sciences
    3. Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy
    4. Selected Prize committee of the Department which includes the Graduate Advisor
    5. Professor J.M. Wadehra of Department of Physics and Astronomy
    5. Dr. Sultana N. Nahar


  • Witten by Wayne State University wit6h detailed Critera by S.N. Nahar

  • Established Endowed Numbers

  • Letter from President Professor Roy Wilson

  • Letter from Dean of Sciences Professor Wayne Raskind

  • Initiation of Selection of candidates for the prizes, 2015-2016


    Recipients of Sultana N. Nahar Prizes for faculty members

  • Distinction in Teaching:
  • Distinction in Research

    Recipients of Alburuj R. Rahman prize for a student

  • The Best Ph.D.Thesis

  • For academic year 2022 - 2023:

    - Recognition ceremony was held before the annual Vaden Miles lecture on April 27, 2023. Associate Dean Prof. Jenn Wareham with Physics and Astronomy Chair Prof Ed Cackett presented the awards. Event pictures below.

  • Distinction in Research: Prof. Chun Shen
    Chair's statement "In 2021, Prof. Shen was awarded a Department of Energy Early Career award for his project “Quantitative Characterization of Emerging Quark-Gluon Plasma Properties with Dynamical Fluctuations and Small Systems.”. His research is providing a quantitative characterization of the Quark-Gluon Plasma properties, how it ripples and flows, and its phase structure by interweaving theoretical many-body nuclear physics, high-performance computing and advanced machine learning techniques. This is a high profile and prestigious grant, which is allowing Wayne State students the opportunity to participate in state-of-art nuclear physics research and interfacing with advanced big-data/statistical analysis."

  • Distinction in Teaching: Prof. Bill Llope
    Chair's statemenr "Prof. Llope was praised by the student body for "his incredible work in helping all the students in the department." Prof. LLope helps students in a variety of ways, by stimulating critical thinking, by being very approachable, and with the clarity of his presentations. He was specially mentioned for the help given to students in getting into summer programs at national research facilities."

  • Best Ph.D. Thesis:
    Dr. Sonali Ghandi
    Chair's statement: PhD thesis entitled “Four-color fluorescence cross correlation spectroscopy to reveal the molecular mechanism of lipolysis”.
    "Dr. Gandhi has developed new biophysical methods to measure the correlated diffusion of membrane-bound biomolecules. She applied her methods to revealing the ligand-dependent co-diffusion of proteins on the surface of lipid droplets. Her discoveries will enable countless future studies on membrane organization and dynamics while she has directly advanced our understanding of triglyceride metabolism."

  • For academic year 2019 - 2020:

    - Due to COVID-19 pandemic, the recognition ceremony is planned to be held in Fall 2021

  • Distinction in Research: Prof. William (Bill) Llope
    Chair's statement "Bill has been instrumental in building parts for upgrades of the ALICE detector at CERN. He is a great colleague, who is not only a great researcher, but also a much-liked teacher and departmental citizen. There is a recent news story about his research in the South End: "Detectors built at Wayne State installed into the ALICE detector at the CERN-LHC"

  • Distinction in Teaching: Dr. Matthew Gonderinger
    Chair's statemenr "Matt is our new academic service officer. He did most of the hard work to completely reform our introductory “Physics for the Life Sciences” sequence and is now the go-to person for almost all pedagogical questions involving active learning. He also mentors the graduate students and undergraduate learning assistants, runs a teaching course for GTAs, and oversees all the labs.""

  • Best Ph.D. Thesis:
    Dr. Ayesh Gunawardana,
    Dr. Ben Coughenour
    Chair's statement "Ayesh works in theoretical particle physics with Professor Gil Paz and is continuing this work as a post-doc with Gil. Ben completed his thesis in astrophysics with Professor Edward (Ed) Cackett. He has landed a post-doc position at Berkeley. He is a particular success story, as he came to us as a Master's student, but then really came into his own, and did a lot of great work with planetarium outreach for many years, in addition to his excellent research."

  • For academic year 2018 - 2019:

    - Recognition ceremony was held before the Vaden Miles lecture on March 31, 2019.

  • Distinction in Research: Prof. Edward Cackett
    - Cover article "The response of relativistic outflowing gas to the inner accretion disk of a black hole"

  • Distinction in Teaching: Porf. Claude Pruneau
    - Development of his class and book on "Statistics and data analysis"

  • Best Ph.D. Thesis:
    Dr. Derek Hazard

  • For academic year 2017 - 2018:

      - Recognition ceremony is held before the Vaden Miles lecture on Apri 19, 2018. Guest speaker Nobel laureate Prof. J. Michael Kosterlitz. Physics prize wiiners with Dr. Wadehra, Physics Chair and Dean of Physical Sciences: i) Distinction in teaching: Prof. Christopher Kelly ii) Best Ph.D. thesis: Dr. Abir Maarouf

  • Distinction in Research: Prof. Abhijit Majumder

  • Distinction in Teaching: Prof. Christopher Kelly

  • Best Ph.D. Thesis:
    i) Dr. Doaa Taha,
    ii) Dr. Abir Maarouf

  • For academic year 2016 - 2017:

    2016-2017: Faculty Winners

    - Recognition ceremony is held before the Vaden Miles lectire when winners are announced,
    - the list of winners
    - Certificates of the three winners

  • Distinction in Research: Prof. Zhixian Zhou (research: 2D nanomaterials), Certificate

  • Distinction in Teaching: Prof. Peter Hoffmann (introducing teaching method), Certificate

  • Best Ph.D. Thesis: Dr. Hsun-Jen "Ben" Chuang, Certificate

  • For academic year 2015 - 2016:

    - Recognition ceremony was held before the Vaden Miles lecture when winners were announced
    - Sultana was invited to hand over the recognition to the first group winners in 2016

  • Distinction in Research: Prof. Takeshi Sakamoto Certifficate

  • Distinction in Teaching: Prof. Gil Paz Certifficate

  • Best Ph.D. Thesis: Dr. Sharmine Alam, Certifficate


  • News article on the physics and astronomy prizes "Eyes on the Prize", at WSU website for news magazine "A Year of Moments". For weblink scroll down to "Discover" and then click at "Eyes on the Prize


    - President's invitation for the Home game

    - "Investors Luncheon" to recognize and celebrate generous donors who have invested in the future of Wayne State University, Oct 28, 2015

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