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CAP Medal and Award Winners

The Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) and its medal partners are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2023 CAP medals.

The 2023 medalists have been invited to give a plenary lecture as part of the 2023 CAP Conference program, and to receive their medals at the Medalists' Recognition Dinner in Fredericton, NB on Wednesday, June 21, 2023. Please refer to the Congress-at-a-glance for the schedule of plenary lectures by the CAP medal winners. If any of the medalists are unable to attend the conference, their medal will be presented at another mutually agreed upon time or sent to them separately after the conference.

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The 2023 CAP Medal for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Physics is awarded to

Jason Harlow, University of Toronto, in recognition of his influence on undergraduate education in his department and involvement in Physics Education Research. Prof. Harlow is known as an inspiring instructor who encourages students to think independently, critically, and analytically.


"I’m extremely happy and honoured to receive this award. I wish to share the recognition with my talented teaching colleagues at the University of Toronto, a dedicated support staff, and so many amazing Graduate Teaching Assistants who are in the trenches every day, really connecting with the students."

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The 2022 CAP Medal for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Physics is awarded to

James Charbonneau, University of British Columbia, in recognition of his teaching excellence and educational leadership at the University of British Columbia, including contributions to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and development of open-source educational software.


"This is absolutely spectacular news. I don’t think I can put into words how much this means to me. Thank you. It is the result of a lot of hard work and it is an honour to be recognized for it."

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The 2021 CAP Medal for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Physics is awarded to

Richard James Epp, University of Waterloo, in recognition of to recognize his accomplishments in teaching and commitment to physics outreach. He consistently receives high teaching evaluations from majors and non-majors alike, and students commended his "Thinking Like a Physicist" series that replaced informal interactions during the pandemic lockdown.


"I am deeply honoured to be recognized amongst such an esteemed group of teaching-focused colleagues. Receiving this award has sparked me into thinking about new ways I might help students, sharing my love and understanding of Physics to inspire them to do the hard work it takes to master this beautiful and powerful discipline."

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The 2020 CAP Medal for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Physics is awarded to

Kenneth Ragan, McGill University, in recognition of for his overall accomplishments in teaching, and the promotion of quality teaching at his institution and within the CAP. He has taught many different courses spanning the range from large introductory courses for non-specialists to upper-level courses for final-year honours students and graduate students. His deep physics knowledge, along with his passion for physics and for his students, makes him a perfect candidate for the CAP Medal in Undergraduate Physics Teaching.


"I feel honoured and privileged to receive this award from the Canadian Association of Physicists. The CAP and the broader physics community include many outstanding individuals, whose work through the Division of Physics Education enriches and informs us all as educators. I'm deeply honoured to be recognized by this group."

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The 2019 CAP Medal for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Physics is awarded to

Robert Mann, University of Waterloo, in recognition of for his overall accomplishments in teaching, and the promotion of quality teaching both at his institution and through the CAP, which are exemplified by the instigation of an annual Teaching Retreat at the University of Waterloo and the implementation of the CAP's Award for Excellence in High School/CEGEP Physics Teaching.


"Our present day understanding of physics stands as one of humanity’s great achievements, and I am always pleased and excited to communicate our knowledge of physics to anyone, from novice to expert. To be recognized for this as the recipient of this year’s CAP medal of excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Physics is a great honour indeed."

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The 2018 CAP Medal for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Physics is awarded to

Sarah Johnson, Simon Fraser University, in recognition of for her overall accomplished contributions to teaching. In addition to her sustained excellence in classroom teaching, Sarah has been active in developing programming to ensure student success, such as a volunteer Peer Tutoring Program in Science & Math and Early Intervention Tutorials for students at risk of failure in first-year classes. She has been active in curriculum design, such as the development of a Studio Physics version of first-year physics and was an early adopter of iClickers, which are a tremendous tool for improving student engagement during lectures. Sarah has a stellar record of community outreach in general (e.g., "Science Spooktacular"), and her efforts in encouraging young women to go into physics (e.g., "Girls Exploring Physics"), in particular.


"I am honoured to receive this prestigious award from CAP. Teaching physics to undergraduate students is both challenging and rewarding. I am grateful for this recognition of my efforts to constantly improve how I teach and support our students."

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The 2017 CAP Medal for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Physics is awarded to

Martin Williams, University of Guelph, in recognition of for his exceptional ability to lead students to high academic achievements in physics through excellence and innovation in teaching and mentoring, for his contribution to curriculum design inspired by the results of Physics Education Research, and for his leadership in promoting the adoption of innovative research-based instructional strategies within the Canadian physics education community.


"I am extremely honoured to receive this award. I must acknowledge, however, the immense pleasure and fulfilment I already derive just from being in the classroom in my current role. This award thus recognizes the stellar support of my department and peers at Guelph, the suffering of countless students and the enduring patience of my family."

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The 2016 CAP Medal for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Physics is awarded to

James Fraser, Queen's University, in recognition of for being a leader in adopting innovative teaching pedagogies, in developing new teaching methods, and in his scholarly approach to researching the effectiveness of his new methods. Recognized as a top, inspirational teacher by students and faculty alike, his contributions to excellence in undergraduate physics teaching span the range from engaging first-year students as apprentice scientists, to guiding upper year students in their transition to independent scientists, to actively facilitating faculty adoption of research-based instructional strategies, and to bridging the gap between practice and Physics Education Research.


"I am extremely honoured to receive this award from the Canadian Association of Physicists. I would like to thank my colleagues and graduate students for the many thoughtful discussions and in particular, I would like to thank my Queen's support staff, graduate student teaching team and the undergraduate students who have been willing to walk with me in this enterprise."

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The 2015 CAP Medal for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Physics is awarded to

Chitra Rangan, University of Windsor, in recognition of for her unstoppable commitment to optimizing student interest in physics by employing a wide range of active instructional strategies to enhance student learning, and for being a steadfast advocate for active and research-based learning as well as effective communication skills in science.


"I am thrilled and humbled that my colleagues and students nominated and supported me for this national award. Thanks to the CAP for valuing and promoting undergraduate physics teaching excellence."

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The 2014 CAP Medal for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Physics was not awarded this year.

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The 2013 CAP Medal for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Physics is awarded to

Mona Berciu, University of British Columbia, in recognition of for her exceptional ability to communicate knowledge and understanding and lead students to high academic achievement in physics through her own example, for her leading role in the Welcome Women (WOW) initiative to recruit female students and for her efforts to generally improve the quality of physics teaching through such work as undertaken by the Carl Weiman Science Education Initiative.


"I am honoured to be awarded this Medal from the Canadian Association of Physicists. I am grateful to all those who worked on my behalf to make this happen, and to all my students for being such a delight to interact with."

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The 2012 CAP Medal for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Physics is awarded to

David Harrison, Dept. of Physics, Univ. of Toronto, in recognition of for his leadership and innovation in introducing research-based pedagogical techniques to his physics courses at the University of Toronto, and for his significant contributions to the on-line physics teaching community and the Ontario Association of Physics Teachers.


"This award is, of course, thrilling for me, although I suspect that my very small number of successes is due to many students through the years suffering through my many many failures."

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The 2011 CAP Medal for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Physics is awarded to

Joanne O'Meara, University of Guelph, in recognition of for her outstanding and innovative work in the classroom, impressive range of engagement in physics education research, and her broad reaching impact beyond the walls of her own classes, from the primary school level on up to the development of a national university-level physics curriculum.


"It is truly a great honour to be the 2011 recipient of the CAP Medal for Excellence in Teaching. I would like to thank the Canadian Association of Physicists for this honour, as well as my colleagues at Guelph for fostering an environment in which excellence in teaching is so highly regarded. Most importantly, I thank my students for helping me to continue to grow as an educator."

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The 2010 CAP Medal for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Physics is awarded to

Marina Milner-Bolotin, Ryerson University, in recognition of for her unceasing enthusiasm in engaging students to discover physics with a masterful integration of an array of successful teaching methods, for her influence on shifting institutional culture toward active learning, for her dedication to physics education research and her commitment to the continual professional development of physics educators across the nation.


"It is a great honour to receive the CAP Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Medal. I am humbled indeed to read the names of the past Medal recipients. I am infinitely grateful to Prof. Robert Hawkes who nominated me and to my family, friends, colleagues and students for their support."

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The 2009 CAP Medal for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Physics is awarded to

Jeff Dahn, Dalhousie University, in recognition of for his exceptional dedication to superior undergraduate physics teaching, his ability to motivate students to study physics by bringing the concepts to life in his classes, and his mentorship of students engaging in research at all levels.


"I am surprised, flattered, thrilled and somewhat guilty (I have a 50% teaching load) to receive this award which speaks to the apparent success of demonstration-based lecturing to large classes."

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The 2008 CAP Medal for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Physics is awarded to

Adam James Sarty, St. Mary, in recognition of for inspiring his students to love learning physics, successfully implementing innovative teaching technologies and sharing the beauty of the discipline, through his dedication to physics education.


"I am humbled and honoured to receive this Medal, and would like to share the recognition with my 'team': my wife and children, my Department and Dean, and SMU's instructional development office - all have taught me, guided me, and supported me in my physics teaching."

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