Established in 1936, the Oersted Medal recognizes those who have had an outstanding, widespread, and lasting impact on the teaching of physics.

Jan Tobochnik graduated summa cum laude from Amherst College in 1975 with a major in physics. He then went to Cornell University, where in 1980 he obtained a Ph.D. in physics. Tobochnik joined the faculty at Kalamazoo College in 1985 where he currently holds the position of Dow Distinguished Professor in the Natural Sciences.

Within the physics community, Tobochnik is well known for his series of texts, written with Harvey Gould, that cover computer simulation methods at the introductory level and statistical and thermal physics at the intermediate level. In the early 1990s, he was a practitioner of active learning methods, long before it became fashionable, and was busy developing software to assist student learning. Tobochnik's fluency in computational methods especially in the service of advanced thermal and statistical physics research has informed dozens of publications in refereed journals, columns in Computers in Physics, and a second textbook with Harvey Gould, Statistical and Thermal Physics with Computer Applications, the first book being An Introduction to Computer Simulation Methods: Applications to Physical Systems with co-authors Harvey Gould and Wolfgang Christian, which is now in its third edition.

He has also provided important professional services including co-editing the first ever theme issue of the American Journal of Physics (AJP), co-creating the Gordon Conference on Physics Research and Education series and co-chairing its first conference, co-editing the Computer Simulations section of Computers in Physics, and above all else, he had a successful 10-year stint (2001–2011) as the editor of the American Journal of Physics.

Tobochnik has served on several AAPT committees; most recently, he has been a member of the AJP Resource Letter Advisory Board. He was also a Divisional Associate Editor of Physical Review Letters (2001–2006). Tobochnik has received numerous awards, including the AAPT Homer L. Dodge Distinguished Service Citation, Fellow of AAPT, and Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Established in 1941, the Richtmyer Memorial Lecture Award recognizes those who have made outstanding contributions to physics and their communication to physics educators.

Jay Pasachoff is Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy and Director of the Hopkins Observatory at Williams College, Williamstown, MA. A veteran of 64 solar eclipses, he is chair of the International Astronomical Union's Working Group on Solar Eclipses and a member of the American Astronomical Society's Solar Eclipse Task Force. His recent research includes investigations of the dynamics of the solar corona studied from the ground at eclipses and from spacecraft, and the temperature and structure of the corona over the solar-activity cycle, from images and spectra. He also studies the atmosphere of Pluto through observation of stellar occultations. His recent eclipse and other solar research is and has been supported by the NSF and by the National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration; his recent Pluto research has been supported by NASA.

Pasachoff received the 2003 Education Prize of the American Astronomical Society and the 2012 Janssen Prize of the Société Astronomique de France.

After the Bronx High School of Science, he studied at Harvard, receiving his bachelor's degree in 1963, his master's degree in 1965, and his doctorate in 1969. He worked at the Harvard College Observatory and at Caltech before going to Williams College in 1972.

Pasachoff is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the International Planetarium Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Royal Astronomical Society, and he has held a Getty Fellowship. He is a member of the American Astronomical Society and is past chair of its Historical Astronomy Division. He has lectured widely, including a stint as a Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer. He is also director of the Hopkins Observatory and past (in rotation, most recently 2014–2015) chair of the Astronomy Department at Williams.

In addition, he has been active in educational and curriculum matters. He is U.S. National liaison to, and was president (2003–2006) of the Commission on Education and Development of the International Astronomical Union, has twice been chair of the Astronomy Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has been on the astronomy committees of the American Astronomical Society (and its representative 2004–2017 to the AAAS), the American Physical Society, and the American Association of Physics Teachers.

The Homer L. Dodge Citation for Distinguished Service to AAPT members recognizes AAPT members for their exceptional contributions to the association at the national, section, or local levels.

Ernest R. Behringer earned his B.S. in physics at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in physics at Cornell University. He is currently at Eastern Michigan University. Behringer has served as president of the Michigan Section of the AAPT, as the chair of the AAPT Area Committee on Physics in Undergraduate Education, on the AAPT Governance Committee, and as a reviewer and an Advisory Board member for the American Journal of Physics. He has also served as a board member of the AAPT-affiliated Advanced Laboratory Physics Association (ALPhA), as well as on the organizing committees of the 2012 and 2015 topical (“BFY”) conferences. He currently serves as the chair of the AAPT Undergraduate Curriculum Task Force.

Richard Gelderman earned his B.S. in physics at Virginia Tech, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in astronomy at the University of Virginia. Gelderman currently holds the position of Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Western Kentucky University, where he is also the director of the Hardin Planetarium. Gelderman has been instrumental in increasing the vitality, scope, and effectiveness of the Space Science and Astronomy Committee. Gelderman has also contributed to many other committees and activities in his many years of service to AAPT. In particular, he has served on the Membership and Benefits Committee, the Nominating Committee, and is currently the chair for the Science Education for the Public Committee, as well as a member of both the Programs and Meetings Committee.

Sharon Kirby earned her B.A. in chemistry at Western Carolina University, a master's in secondary science education at the University of West Georgia, and a specialist degree in curriculum and instruction at Piedmont College. Kirby most recently was an instructor in the Department of Physics at the University of West Georgia. Kirby has a distinguished record of teaching and learning at the high school level and more recently at the university level with courses for education majors. A Physics Teaching Resource Agent (PTRA) since 2000, she has assisted in leading many PTRA workshops for teachers in the University of Georgia system. She has presented workshops and papers about the PTRA professional development at many state, regional, and national meetings, including national AAPT meetings.

Kenneth S. Krane earned his B.S. in physics at the University of Arizona, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in physics at Purdue University. Krane is currently Emeritus Professor of Physics at Oregon State University. Krane has served AAPT for many years and in many ways. He has been a member of the American Journal of Physics (AJP) editorial board as well as an AJP associate editor, a member of the Committee on Physics in Graduate Education (1994–1997), a member of the Nominating Committee (2006), and a principal investigator, director, and founder of the AAPT New Faculty Workshop from 1995 to 2006. He is also the 2004 recipient of the Robert A. Millikan Medal, a 2014 AAPT Fellow, and a co-leader of the Strategic Programs for Innovations in Undergraduate Physics (SPIN-UP) project, providing guidelines and recommendations to physics departments that led to more than doubling of the number of bachelor's degrees awarded in physics over the past 15 years.

Ann M. Robinson earned her B.S. in biology at Appalachian State University, an M.A. in science education at Atlanta University, and completed the Education Specialist program at University of West Georgia. She is currently a part-time instructor in the physics department at the University of West Georgia. Robinson has a distinguished record of teaching and learning at the high school level and more recently at the university level with courses for education majors. A Physics Teaching Resource Agent (PTRA) since 1999, she has been an instructor for many PTRA summer workshops for science teachers in several different states, but especially, at the University of West Georgia. She has helped to write proposals to fund PTRA professional development and has presented papers about PTRA professional development at many state, regional, and national meetings, including national AAPT meetings. Robinson has served the association as a member of the Southern Atlantic Coast Section and as the vice chair of the Committee on Physics in Pre-High School Education.