FRIB’s Filomena Nunes receives American Physical Society Division of Nuclear Physics Distinguished Service Award

01 November 2021

Filomena Nunes, professor of physics at FRIB and in MSU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy and the managing director of the FRIB Theory Alliance, has received the American Physical Society (APS) Division of Nuclear Physics (DNP) Distinguished Service Award.

APS is the major professional organization for physicists in the United States. It has over 55,000 members from academia, national laboratories, and industry. The mission of the APS is to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics for the benefit of humanity, promote physics, and serve the broader physics community.

According to APS DNP, Nunes won for “her exceptional and rich contributions toward making the DNP a place where all members can thrive, especially those from traditionally underrepresented groups, including service as the inaugural chair of the subcommittee on harassment prevention and the creation of the DNP Allies program.”

Under Nunes’ leadership, the DNP Allies program provides an avenue for those affected by harassment to have the issues addressed in a timely manner, reducing the impact harassment may have on the field of nuclear physics. More than 20 allies, who are leaders in the field of nuclear physics, serve as ambassadors of DNP’s commitment to inclusiveness. They are trained to be effective in helping those who feel harassed. The creation of the program has made a lasting impact on reducing harassment and has made people aware of different forms of harassment and its impact.

At FRIB, Nunes is involved in group research on low-energy nuclear reaction theory and uncertainty quantification. Her research includes ensuring that data obtained from experiments with rare isotope beams can be properly interpreted and help answer questions about the properties of nuclei and how they are created in the universe. Throughout her career, she has been dedicated to improving the environment for women and people from underrepresented groups in science. Recently, she developed a new course at MSU titled “Tools for Women in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).”

The FRIB Theory Alliance is a coalition of scientists from universities and national laboratories who seek to foster advancements in theory related to diverse areas of FRIB science; optimize the coupling between theory and experiment; and stimulate the field by creating permanent theory positions across the country, attracting young talent through the national FRIB Theory Fellow Program, fostering interdisciplinary collaborations, and shepherding international initiatives.

Michigan State University (MSU) operates the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) as a user facility for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC), supporting the mission of the DOE-SC Office of Nuclear Physics. Hosting the most powerful heavy-ion accelerator, FRIB will enable scientists to make discoveries about the properties of rare isotopes in order to better understand the physics of nuclei, nuclear astrophysics, fundamental interactions, and applications for society, including in medicine, homeland security, and industry.

The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of today’s most pressing challenges. For more information, visit