Medard W. Welch Award


To recognize and encourage outstanding accomplishments in the fields of interest to AVS.


The nominee must have outstanding theoretical and/or experimental accomplishments within the ten years preceding the year in which the award is made. Nominees can be from academia, government, or industry, and special consideration will be given to nominees currently engaged in an active scientific/technical career. In any given year an individual may provide a nominating or supporting letter for only one candidate for each award. The award will be granted without further restriction except that current members of the Board of Directors and the Awards Committee are not eligible. Further, no member of the Awards Committee may nominate or support any nomination.  The AVS Awards Committee reserves the right to consider a candidate for a different award category.

Nature of the Award

The award consists of a cash award, a medal, a plaque, and an honorary lectureship at a regular session of the International Symposium. This award will be conferred at intervals of not less than one year. Travel expenses of the awardee to the meeting at which the award is presented shall be reimbursed.

Establishment and Support

The Award was established in 1969 to commemorate the pioneering efforts of M.W. Welch in founding and supporting AVS. The Welch Foundation provided the initial endowment.

Quick Links

Tips on How to Craft an Effective Nomination and Strong Support Letter
Preview of Medard Welch Nomination Questions
National Awards Procedures

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2023 - Sergei Kalinin
“In recognition of transformational contributions to atomic- and nanoscale control of matter and development of machine-learning driven automated microscopy”

2022 - Susan B. Sinnott
Bio | Newsletter Interview
“For outstanding contributions to the development and utilization of computational methods to advance atomic-scale insights into the mechanisms associated with surface chemistry, thin-film growth, and materials discovery”

2021 - Tony F. Heinz
“For seminal contributions to the field of 2D materials, including the ground-breaking discoveries of the distinctive electronic and optical properties of atomically thin two-dimensional semiconductors”

2020 - Mark Hersam
Bio | Newsletter Interview
“For pioneering contributions to the synthesis, surface science, chemical functionalization, and application of low-dimensional nanoelectronic materials"

2019 - Scott A. Chambers
Bio | Interview Transcript | Newsletter Interview
“For pioneering contributions to understanding the origin and influence of heterogeneities, defects, and disorder in complex oxide epitaxial films and heterostructures"

2018 - Dr. David Castner
Bio | Interview Transcript
“For leading advances in rigorous and state-of-the-art surface analysis methods applied to organic and biological samples"

2017 - Prof. Hans-Peter Steinrück
Bio | Interview Transcript
“For his pioneering studies on the properties and reactivity of the surfaces of ionic liquids employing the methods of surface science"

2016 - Prof. Maki Kawai
Bio | Interview Transcript
“For elucidation of the role of vibrational dynamics in single-molecule reactions at surfaces"

2015 - Dr. Charles T. Campbell
Bio | Interview Transcript
“For seminal contributions to determining accurate adsorption energetics and for developing key concepts for the analysis of important catalytic reactions"

2014 - Patricia A. Thiel
Bio | Interview Transcript
“For seminal contributions to the understanding of quasicrystalline surfaces and thin-film nucleation and growth”

2013 - Chris G. Van De Walle
Bio | Interview Transcript
"For seminal contributions to the theory of heterojunctions and its application to semiconductor technology, and for elucidating the role of hydrogen in electronic materials”

2012 - Yves Chabal
Bio | Interview Transcript
"For his exceptional studies of vibrations at surfaces, especially the development and application of surface infrared spectroscopy to understand the physics and chemistry of hydrogen-terminated silicon and atomic layer deposition"

2011 - Wilson Ho
Bio | Interview Transcript
"For the development and application of atomic scale inelastic electron tunneling with the scanning tunneling microscope"

2010 - Mark J. Kushner
"For outstanding contributions to modeling and physical understanding of plasmas, especially those used in thin film etching, deposition and surface modification"

2009 - Robert J. Hamers
Bio | Interview Transcript
"For wide ranging studies of chemistry and photochemistry at semiconductor surfaces and for establishing connections to various emergent technologies"

2008 - Miquel Salmeron
Bio | Interview Transcript
"For seminal contributions to the development of surface characterization techniques usable in a variety of environments and their application to catalysis, tribology and related surface phenomena"

2007 - Jerry Tersoff
"For seminal theoretical contributions to the understanding of surfaces, interfaces, thin films and nanostructures of electronic materials."

2006 - John C. Hemminger
"For outstanding contributions to the development of quantitative, molecular level understanding of many important interfacial processes, especially those related to atmospheric chemistry"

2005 - Charles S. Fadley
Bio | Interview Transcript
"For the development of novel techniques based on photoelectron spectroscopy and synchrotron radiation, and their application to the study of the atomic, electronic, and magnetic structure of surfaces and buried interfaces"

2004 - Rudolf M. Tromp
Bio | Interview Transcript
"For fundamental discoveries in epitaxial growth and elucidation of their applications to technological problems"

2003 - Matthias Scheffler
"For developing Density Functional Theory methods to describe surface chemical reactions and enabling their widespread use"

2002 - Buddy D. Ratner
"For innovative research on biomaterial interfaces and establishing the field of biomaterials surface science"

2001 - E. Ward Plummer
"For the development of novel instrumentation, its use to illuminate new concepts in the surface physics of metals, and the mentoring of promising young scientists"

2000 - D. Phillip Woodruff
Bio | Interview Transcript
"For contributions to the understanding of the geometric properties of clean and adsorbate-decorated surfaces, and for innovative development of surface science techniques"

1999 - John H. Weaver
Bio | Interview Transcript
"For his seminal contributions to the atomic-level understanding of thin-film growth, interfacial interactions, and etching"

1998 - David E. Aspnes
"For novel applications and creative development of optical methods and effects for research on thin films, surfaces and interfaces which have significantly advanced the understanding of electronic materials and processes"

1997 - Phaedon Avouris
"For his seminal contributions to the understanding of the chemistry of semiconductor surfaces and for his development of the STM as a tool for probing and inducing surface chemical reactions with atomic scale resolution and control"

1996 - Peter Feibelman
Bio | Interview Transcript
"For his insightful predications and explanations of surface phenomena based on first principles calculations"

1995 - Gerhard Ertl
"For excellence in the use of modern methods for developing key concepts important to surface chemistry"

1994 - John T. Yates, Jr.
"For the development and use of modern measurement methods to provide insights into the behavior of chemisorbed species on metal and semiconductor surfaces"

1993 - George Comsa
Bio | Interview Transcript
"For seminal discoveries and investigations in vacuum and surface science, in particular the extensive development of thermal-energy atom scattering for the structural analysis of surfaces"

1992 - Ernst Bauer
Bio | Interview Transcript
"For his contributions to the fundamental understanding of thin film nucleation and growth and for his invention, development and use of multiple surface characterization techniques to study those thin films"

1991 - Max G. Lagally
Bio | Interview Transcript
"For outstanding contributions to the quantitative understanding of defects with respect to ordering and growth of surface structures"

1990 - Jerry M. Woodall
"For seminal contributions to compound semiconductor science and technology"

1989 - Robert Gomer
"For pioneering contributions to surface science, including definitive studies on the theory and application of field emission, chemisorption, and desorption phenomena"

1988 - Peter Sigmund
"For theoretical contributions to the field of physical sputtering and related phenomena"

1987 - Mark J. Cardillo
"For his innovative and pioneering research on the interaction of molecular beams with surfaces"

1986 - Harald Ibach
"For the development of high resolution electron energy loss spectroscopy and its applications to the characterization of surfaces and absorbates"

1985 - Theodore E. Madey
"For his investigations of surface processes at a fundamental atomic and molecular level, especially the determination of absorbed molecule bonding geometries"

1984 - William E. Spicer
"For his contributions to the development and application of photoelectron spectroscopy in the study of the electronic structure and chemical properties of solids and their surfaces and interfaces"

1983 - H.H. Wieder
"For his contributions to growth of thin semiconductor single crystal films, and most importantly, for research leading toward III-V MOS technology"

1981 - Harrison E. Farnsworth
"For his pioneering studies of the preparation, structural characterization, and properties of atomically clean surfaces"

1979 - Gert Ehrlich
"For contributions to our understanding of the microscopic force laws by which atoms residing on solid surfaces interact with the substrate and with each other"

1978 - Georg H. Hass
"For techniques of preparation and characterization of thin films for optical coatings of importance to solar energy, space technology, and electro-optics"

1977 - Charles B. Duke
"For far-reaching theoretical contributions to surface science and solid state physics in the areas of low energy electron diffraction, electron tunneling and the electronic structure of large organic molecules"

1976 - Leslie Holland
"In recognition of his many important contributions to vacuum technology and to thin film and surface sciences"

1975 - Paul A. Redhead
"In recognition of his distinguished contributions to the science of low pressure measurement and his far-reaching research on the properties and behavior of absorbed species"

1974 - Homer D. Hagstrum
"For pioneering contributions to ultrahigh vacuum studies of solid surfaces, especially the incorporation into a single vacuum chamber of multiple experimental measurements oncontrolled, individual surfaces; the development of an experimental technique to measure with high precision the energy distribution of electrons ejected from surfaces by the neutralization of slow ions; and the conversion of this technique into aspectroscopy of the electronic structure of well-characterized solid surfaces by virtue of his elucidation of the nature of the physical mechanism of this neutralization process"

1973 - Lawrence A. Harris
"For his pioneering work in the field of Auger electron spectroscopy. Dr. Harris was responsible for the key publication recognizing the potential of Auger electron spectroscopy as a surface analytical tool which he developed and demonstrated. His contribution has had far-reaching impact on the field of surface science and related technical activities"

1972 - Kenneth C.D. Hickman
"For his contributions in the development of condensation pumps and their working fluids and, in particular, for his discovery of the self-fractionating principle which has made these pumps possible"

1971 - Gottfried K. Wehner
"For his pioneering work in the field of sputtering, which has profoundly influenced many other scientists and engineers"

1970 - Erwin W. Mueller
"For work including the development of field electron and field ion microscopy"