The Robert A Millikan Medal recognizes those who have made notable and intellectually creative contributions to the teaching of physics.

David M. Cook is a pioneer in computational physics education and has rendered extraordinary service to AAPT on Area Committees, the Meetings Committee, AAPT representative to AIP Governing Board, and in the Presidential Chain. He has organized a computational physics conference and led computational curriculum education projects. He has been an AAPT member since 1966.

Cook received BS in physics in 1959 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His AM (1960), and Ph.D. (1965) degrees in physics were both earned at Harvard. In 1965, he joined the Department of Physics at Lawrence University, now a 1500-student liberal arts college in Appleton, WI, advancing from Assistant (1965–1971) to Associate (1971–1979) to Full (1979) Professor of Physics and to Philetus E. Sawyer Professor of Science (1989), and receiving the Lawrence Excellence in Teaching Award in 1990.

Starting in the early 1980s, he and his colleague, John Brandenberger, committed themselves to building a strong undergraduate department that now has five full-time faculty members, graduates an average of ten physics majors each year, was a case-study department at the 1998 AAPT/APS/AIP revitalization conference, and was included among the exemplary departments reviewed in the SPIN-UP study. Cook retired from full-time teaching and research in June 2008 but maintains an office at Lawrence University and is engaged in several writing projects. Cook's research interests lie in computational physics, musical acoustics, and uses of computers in the upper-division physics curriculum.

Between 1988 and his retirement in 2008, with support from two grants from the NSF (1988, 1993), three grants from the W. M. Keck Foundation (1988, 1994, 2002), and Lawrence University, Cook directed an extensive curricular development project that has created a departmental environment in which physics majors become expert at using state-of-the-art computing resources intelligently and independently. In support of this endeavor, he built the Lawrence Computational Physics Laboratory, which is currently equipped with 12 Linux workstations that make numerous software packages for graphical visualization, numerical analysis, and symbolic algebra available to students 24/7. The project attracted national attention and has been described in several publications and in invited talks given by Cook at several national meetings, colleges, and universities. In February, 2000, he received an NSF grant supporting the assembling of the extensive instructional materials developed at Lawrence into a flexible and customizable textbook titled Computation and Problem Solving in Undergraduate Physics, which was completed in January, 2003, continues to be used at several colleges around the country, and is now available for free download from ComPADRE. That NSF grant also supported the holding of four week-long summer workshops that brought a total of 70 college faculty members from around the United States for an intensive exposure to the way in which Cook helps Lawrence students become skilled in the use of computational resources.

Just before his retirement in June of 2008, Cook was elected Vice-President of the American Association of Physics Teachers, serving successively as Vice-President, President-Elect, President, and Past President. His four-year term came to an end in February of 2012. In that capacity, he has also served on several AAPT Advisory Committees, as chair of the AAPT Review Board, Awards Committee, and Committee on Governance Structure and as AAPT representative to the AIP Governing Board, the APS Council, the APS/FEd Nominating Committee, and the APS/FEd Executive Committee. In January 2013, he embarked on a three-year term as chair of the AAPT Meetings Committee. The title of his talk at the Summer Meeting was “Attempting the (seemingly) Impossible.”

Named for Paul E. Klopsteg, a principal founder, a former AAPT President, and a long-time member of AAPT, the Klopsteg Memorial Lecture Award recognizes outstanding communication of the excitement of contemporary physics to the general public.

James Kakalios received his Ph.D. in 1985 from the University of Chicago. He is the Taylor Distinguished Professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Minnesota, where he has taught since 1988. His scientific research in experimental condensed matter physics concerns the properties of complex and disordered systems. His class “Everything I Needed to Know About Physics I learned from Reading Comic Books” is a popular freshman seminar.

Extensive media coverage of this class in May 2002, in connection with the release of the first Sony Spider-Man film, resulted in hundreds of e-mails from students, teachers, and those long out of college, all supporting the concept of using superheroes to teach physics and enquiring about a book based on the class. This led to his writing the popular science book The Physics of Superheroes (2005) that has been translated into six languages, and whose Spectacular Second Edition was published in 2009. He is also the author of The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics (2010) and the recently published The Physics of Everyday Things (Crown, 2017).

In 2007, he served as the science consultant for the Warner Bros. superhero film Watchmen. He appears on the DVD version of the film in a special feature that discusses some of the science behind one of Watchmen's central characters—Dr. Manhattan. In 2009, Kakalios made a video with the University News Service on “The Science of Watchmen,” which has been viewed over 1.8 million times and in 2009 won a regional Emmy Award in the “Advanced Media: Arts/Entertainment” category. In 2012, Kakalios served as one of the science consultants for the Marvel Entertainment American superhero film The Amazing Spider-Man. A 2018 video for Business Insider, where Kakalios discussed the physics underlying 10 Iconic Scenes in Marvel superhero movies, has been viewed over 4.2 million times, and another for Science Insider on the strength of Spider-Man's webbing has received over 530,000 views.

His research interests include nanocrystalline and amorphous semiconductors and fluctuation phenomena in neurological systems. His efforts at science outreach have been recognized with awards from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Institute of Physics. Kakalios has been recognized by the American Institute of Physics with the 2016 Andrew Gemant Award. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) recognized him with their award for Public Engagement with Science in 2014 and as an AAAS Fellow in 2013. He was named as a Fellow by the American Physical Society in 2015.

In nominating Kakalios for this award his colleagues noted, “Using comic books and superhero movies as a ‘hook,’ Jim Kakalios has found a unique way to relate physics to the public, in a fun and accessible manner.” The title of his talk at the Summer Meeting was “Superheroes and Public Outreach (No Spandex Required).”

Established as the Excellence in Pre-College Teaching Award in 1993 then renamed and endowed in 2010 by Paul W. and Barbara S. Zitzewitz, the Paul W. Zitzewitz Award for Excellence in Pre-College Physics Teaching recognizes outstanding achievement in teaching pre-college physics.

Ann Walkup is a physics teacher at Cranston High School East, Cranston, Rhode Island. Educated at Connecticut College with a BA in Physics and an MA in Physics Education, she became a life member of AAPT in 2002. Walkup was a member of the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE)/Charles Dana Education Center (University of Texas at Austin) Next Generation of Science Standards science curriculum writing team for six years. She has been instrumental in translating the NGSS into a viable and rigorous physics curriculum for both Cranston Public School Students and the Students of Rhode Island. Her work on curriculum includes the writing of our Foundations for Physics scope and sequence and the units of study. This year, she is a member of the STEAM committee at Cranston High School East (CHSE). Their focus is to collaborate with teachers from different departments to develop units and lessons that integrate Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics, and to make these lessons available to all the CHSE community.

Through her impeccable lesson planning and forms of assessment Walkup has helped many students in the Cranston Public Schools acquire the necessary skills to engage in the study of physics. Her dynamic approach to the teaching of physics allows all students from myriad backgrounds to excel in physics. She has instructed a diverse student body in multiple levels of courses from early enrollment, to honors, to independent studies, to comprehensive, to self-contained courses for students with special needs. She is a champion of STEM teaching and her delivery and style should be emulated by all physics educators.

Walkup currently co-teaches the CHSE Ballroom Dance club and is a member of USA Dance, as well as a certified Bob Ross Instructor in oil painting. She also plays harp and has performed with the CHSE orchestra. In 2012, she founded the Robert and John L. Walkup Scholarship, an annual award given for excellence in physics, in memory of her father and uncle. She is a previous winner of the 2008 AMGEN Award for Science Teaching Excellence. Currently, she is working towards a Graduate Colored Stones degree from the Gemological Institute of America. The title of her talk at the Summer Meeting was “Let's All Do Physics!: Integrating Special Education Accommodations in Physics Curriculum.”

Established as the Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award in 1993; it was renamed and substantially endowed in 2010 by John Wiley & Sons. Named for David Halliday and Robert Resnick, authors of a very successful college-level textbook in introductory physics, the award recognizes outstanding achievement in teaching undergraduate physics.

Deborah Mason-McCaffrey is an Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry and Physics, Salem State University, Salem, Massachusetts. She earned her B.S.M.E. in Mechanical Engineering, with highest distinction, at the University of Rhode Island, her Sc.M. in Solid Mechanics at Brown University, and her Ph.D. in Theoretical & Applied Mechanics at Cornell University.

She is the Chair of the Undergraduate Research Symposium Committee at Salem State, the immediate Past-President of the New England Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), and an AAPT Fellow. Prior to teaching at Salem State, she worked as an engineer in product development and as a department manager at Polaroid Corporation, followed by several years as a consultant and trainer. Mason-McCaffrey's interest is in understanding the link between mathematics preparation and students' conceptual gains in introductory physics.

In nominating her for this award her colleague said, “Dr. Mason-McCaffrey achieves teaching excellence. Despite teaching rigorous courses, her student evaluations are consistently outstanding. Her course materials, including her syllabi, are meticulously organized. Her use of student-active learning techniques, such as in-class group problem solving, videos, applets, and Interactive Lecture Demonstrations (ILDs) is to be commended. In addition to experimenting with various student-active learning techniques, she assesses her methods using pre- and post-testing. Dr. Mason-McCaffrey has played a critical role in reviving the Physics Minor at Salem State and puts in countless hours personally interacting with potential and current students.” The title of her talk at the Summer Meeting was “Should Engineers be Teaching Physics?”

The Homer L. Dodge Citation for Distinguished Service to AAPT is presented to members in recognition of their exceptional contributions to the association at the national, sectional, or local level.

Douglas Brown is Physics Professor Emeritus, Cabrillo College, Aptos, California. In retirement, he continues to actively support Tracker, the free video analysis and modeling tool he developed as part of the Open Source Physics project. A member of AAPT since 1991, he has been recognized for teaching excellence and served as department chair at Cabrillo. He is currently a resource editor for the Tracker collection in the ComPADRE digital library. Tracker is widely used in the physics community with over 1 million downloads. It has been translated into 26 languages, and it is regularly cited in The Physics Teacher, with 81 citations for the original 2009 Tracker paper (Vol. 47, p. 145). Brown's interest in video analysis started in the early 1990s and led him to begin developing Tracker during a sabbatical leave in 2001. In 2002, he joined the Open Source Physics project, ensuring that Tracker would be freely available and widely disseminated. Since then, Tracker has become a powerful video analysis tool with automatic tracking and the ability to analyze videos that tilt, pan, zoom, or have skewed views of the action. Brown also added spectroscopic analysis to Tracker, going beyond the capabilities of traditional video analysis programs. Tracker includes a data tool so students can easily fit theoretical curves to their data. In 2007, Brown extended Tracker beyond video analysis by provided a modeling tool as well. Students build dynamic particle models that move according to Newton's laws, and then overlay the models on videos to directly compare them to the real world. This allows teachers to include basic computational physics at the introductory level with very little instructional overhead. Tracker is used in popular physics forums as well for outreach to the general public. Brown has given Tracker-based talks and workshops at regional, national, and international meetings and has published articles on video analysis and modeling in TPT and other journals.

Dan Burns taught Advanced Placement Physics and Earth/Space Science at Los Gatos High School in Los Gatos, California for 27 years. He is currently the physics curriculum and training specialist at PASCO scientific in Roseville, CA. An active member of AAPT since 1994, Burns is an active member of the Northern California/Nevada AAPT Section and has served as President of the Section. He conducts the PTSOS workshop program, now in its 16th year. Burns has also taught workshops and wrote curriculum for many different organizations including Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USGS, the SETI Institute, and the National Math and Science Initiative. His reach has been extensive and he has helped many physics teachers better understand their content and implement better curriculum. He understands that supporting the teacher supports the students. In an age of packaged and purchased curriculum Burns gives many of his resources freely to his peers. He does not mind spending the time to help a teacher, knowing that it will improve their course for not only this year's students but all of those in the future. He feels a sense of responsibility to pass on the knowledge it has taken him years to gain to make the road a bit easier for those that follow. Burns is quite the showman, employing elaborate props and demonstrations that both illustrate and entertain. His YouTube channel helps not only students but teachers to fully understand the intricacies of seemingly simple problems.