About the Award

Awarded to recognize a North American resident for a recent innovative discovery or investigation in electricity, magnetism, or radiant energy. The award is presented with a $50,000 prize and $50,000 to support the recipient’s research. Established through the Cyrus B. Comstock Fund.

Michel H. Devoret and Robert Schoelkopf, Yale University, received the 2024 Comstock Prize in Physics.

Devoret and Schoelkopf’s groundbreaking work established non-linear quantum optics in electrical circuits at the single-photon level and has enabled new insights into, and control of, macroscopic quantum systems, and advances in quantum measurements, quantum information processing and quantum error correction.

2024 Comstock Prize, social

Devoret and Schoelkopf have advanced the field through their development and practical application of ‘Circuit QED’ (circuit quantum electrodynamics), which allows quantum information to be distributed by microwave signals on wires. The strong coupling of qubits and photons in circuit QED enables many applications in quantum computation and sensing.

Their close collaboration has transformed the way we think about quantum information, quantum optics, and the quantum world in general, leading us into a new era of research and applications.

Watch their acceptance speech.

Award History

The Comstock Prize in Physics is named after Cyrus B. Comstock, a career officer in the Regular Army of the United States who served as senior aide-de-camp to Ulysses S. Grant during the Civil War. Comstock was a prominent member of the National Academy of Sciences and bequeathed a fund to the Academy to support an award to a scientist conducting innovative work in the investigation of electricity, magnetism, or radiant energy.

The first Comstock Prize was awarded to Robert A. Millikan in 1913. Previous recipients of the Comstock Prize in Physics continue to achieve outstanding advancements in their fields. Eight recipients have been honored with a National Medal of Science, and 10 recipients have received a Nobel Prize in Physics (Millikan, 1923; Davisson, 1937; Bridgman, 1946; Lawrence, 1939; Shockley, 1956; Townes, 1964; Schrieffer, 1972; Cooper, 1972; Davis, 2002; Hänsch, 2005).

Most Recent Recipient
Michel H. Devoret and Robert Schoelkopf, 2024 Comstock Prize in Physics.
Michel H. Devoret and Robert Schoelkopf
Call for Nominations

Awards will be presented in a variety of fields including biophysics, astronomy, microbiology, medical sciences, and more.

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Award Types

Previous Award Recipients

Michal Lipson
Deborah S. Jin
Charles L. Bennett
John N. Bahcall
John Clarke
E. L. Hahn and Charles P. Slichter