Benjamin Augenbraun, son of Wiltonians Sara and Chuck Augenbraun, received the LeRoy Apker Award from the American Physical Society, making him the fifth Williams College alumnus in recent years to be awarded the nation\u2019s highest honor for undergraduate physics research. The Apker Award is presented to two undergraduates each year\u00a0\u2014\u00a0one from a Ph.D.-granting institution and the other from a non-Ph.D.-granting institution. As one of this year\u2019s winners, Benjamin will receive a $5,000 prize, and the same amount will be awarded to William College\u2019s physics department. Benjamin received the award for his thesis on experimental atomic physics using laser spectroscopy to study complicated, heavy atoms like indium and thallium. He specifically researched the Stark shift, a phenomenon whereby atoms \u2014 indium, in this case \u2014 deform in large electric fields. The Stark shift can be measured by observing how the atom\u2019s light absorption of precise colors changes when the electric field is turned on and off. \u201cUltimately, this is interesting because theoretical physicists can independently \u2014\u00a0and from first principles \u2014\u00a0predict what we should measure, and comparing our measurement to their predictions is a good way to test whether or not their mathematical models are accurate,\u201d said Augenbraun, who also received the Goldwater Scholarship in 2014 for his achievements in physics. He graduated summa cum laude from Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., earlier this year with a bachelor\u2019s degree in physics. He completed his award-winning research in the lab of Williams College physics professor Protik Majumder. Majumder said Augenbraun spent two years working in the college\u2019s atomic physics laboratory, \u201cgrowing from an enthusiastic participant to a true research partner who, by the end of his Williams career, was not only running the complicated experiment entirely by himself, but charting the direction for the future of the project.\u201d He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in physics at Harvard University in Boston, where he is part of a research group studying cold molecules. Augenbraun said once he finishes his Ph.D., he hopes to remain in academia in a position where he can balance research and teaching. To learn more about the LeRoy Apker Award, visit: http:\/\/bit.ly\/1k4Va2I.