American Physical Society recognizes Kapit for advocacy
Eliot Kapit, associate professor of physics at Colorado School of Mines, has been awarded a 2019 5 Sigma Physicist Award from the American Physical Society, a leading nonprofit organization comprised of more than 55,000 physicists in academe, national laboratories and industry.
“Every year, APS honors a select group of members with the 5 Sigma Physicist Award for performing outstanding advocacy that is crucial to maintaining the strength of the U.S. scientific enterprise,” wrote Tawanda W. Johnson in APS News, announcing the award.
Kapit was one of 10 honorees and one of two physicists recognized for their work supporting the National Quantum Initiative Act, which was signed into law in December 2018. Among other things, the bill aimed to create a National Quantum Initiative Program to “establish the goals and priorities for a 10-year plan to accelerate the development of quantum information science and technology applications.”
As reported in APS News, Kapit “met with the science staffer from the office of Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) to ensure that key language was included in the National Quantum Initiative Act (NQI), which was signed into law by President Trump last year."
“I’m very honored to receive the award! I was happy to help the APS work with Senator Gardner's office (which was very receptive and helpful) to ensure that the National Quantum Initiative Act was properly structured to best fund quantum technology research without cutting support for other areas,” Kapit told APS News.
“I think science policy advocacy is vital, because, almost definitionally, new research is strange and complex, and its purpose and importance are generally not at all obvious to people without advanced degrees or training. So, if we as physicists don’t make the effort to explain in plain English what we’re doing and why it’s interesting and valuable, then we can’t expect anyone to care, much less want to support our work.”
Francis Slakey, APS chief government affairs officer, explained the significance of the awards to APS News.
“The 5 Sigma Physicist awardees are representative of the best in science, and we are thankful that they volunteered their time and expertise to advance science policy goals,” Slakey said.
Kapit joined Mines in 2018 from Tulane University. He holds a PhD from Cornell University, MS from University of Chicago and BA from Reed College.
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