2024 Richtmyer Award Will Go to Katie Mack

2024 Winter Meeting Plenary Speaker


Katherine (Katie) MackKatherine (Katie) Mack Recognized as 2024 Recipient of the Richtmyer Memorial Lecture Award

Plenary Talk at WM24
Monday, January 8

College Park, Maryland, United States, March 15, 2023—The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) announced today that Katherine (Katie) Mack has been selected to receive the 2024 Richtmyer Memorial Lecture Award. She is recognized with the award for outstanding contributions to physics and for effectively communicating those contributions to physics educators. The award will be presented at a Ceremonial Session of the AAPT 2024 Winter Meeting.

The following citation from the Awards Committee will be used for the award:

“For significant efforts in promoting the interest in and understanding of cosmological research and discovery, and for creating innovative, accessible connections with physics educators, Dr. Katie Mack is hereby named as the recipient of the 2024 Richtmyer Memorial Lecture Award.”

Mack is a theoretical astrophysicist who studies a range of questions in cosmology, the study of the universe from beginning to end. She currently holds the position of the Hawking Chair in Cosmology and Science Communication at the Perimeter Institute. Throughout her career, she has placed an emphasis on sharing science with the broader public. A scientist whose research relies on public funding, she considers it part of her job to share her knowledge and expertise with people outside the world of science and academia. As part of her role, she frequently takes part in outreach activities (public lectures, school visits, mentoring events, videos, podcasts, etc) and makes herself available for interviews.

As @AstroKatie, she has amassed a Twitter following of more than 400,000. Her popular writing (https://www.astrokatie.com) has appeared in major publications including Scientific American, Slate, Sky & Telescope, Cosmos, BBC Science Focus, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2020, she released her first book "The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking)" which examines five ways the universe could end and the mind-blowing lessons each scenario reveals about the most important concepts in cosmology. It was named a New York Times Notable Book of 2020 and continues a storied tradition of science communication of which Hawking himself is perhaps the most known example.

One of Mack's nominators noted, “[Dr. Mack]..deftly breaks down complex topics and uses simple wording and analogies to help them understand. Because of this, many physics teachers (both high school and post-secondary) and physics students follow her on Twitter.”

About the Award
The Richtmyer Memorial Lecture Award is given in memory of Floyd K. Richtmyer, distinguished physicist, teacher, and administrator. Professor Richtmyer was one of the founders of AAPT and served as its president. As a teacher, author, research worker, and dean, he was the guide for many young physicists who became leaders of American science and has had a wide influence on the development of physics in the United States. The award has been given since 1941 to a person who has made outstanding contributions to physics and effectively communicated those contributions to physics educators. The previous recipients of the Richtmyer Award include Jay M. Pasachoff, Sir Michael Berry, Brian Greene, Kathryn Moler, Vera Rubin, Alex Filippenko, Arthur H. Compton, Enrico Fermi, Philip Morrison, Steven Chu, Sheldon Glashow, Kip Thorne, Steven Weinberg, and Dave Jocelyn Bell Burnell. The complete list of winners can be found at http://www.aapt.org/Programs/awards/richtmyer.cfm.

About AAPT
AAPT is the premier international organization for physics educators, physicists, and industrial scientists—with members worldwide. Dedicated to enhancing the understanding and appreciation of physics through teaching, AAPT provides awards, publications, and programs that encourage practical application of physics principles, support continuing professional development, and reward excellence in physics education. AAPT was founded in 1930 and is headquartered in the American Center for Physics in College Park, Maryland.