Image shows a scientist inserting their hands into a laser deposition chamber
The Amazon Physical Science Fellowship provides an opportunity for early career academics in physics to collaborate with Amazon by identifying game-changing discoveries from the past two decades that could lead to products and services that will create a better future for the next generation.

Call for application: Amazon Physical Science Fellows

Program provides early career academics in physics a chance to identify discoveries from the past two decades that could lead to products and services that will create a better future for the next generation.

The Amazon Physical Science Fellowship provides an opportunity for early career academics in physics to collaborate with Amazon by identifying game-changing discoveries from the past two decades that could lead to products and services that will create a better future for the next generation. Up to three selected fellows will be eligible for a $150,000 USD cash prize over three years.

Our inspiration

Building on the formulation of Maxwell’s equations in 1865, Heinrich Hertz demonstrated in 1888 that radio waves can be generated, transmitted, and detected in a laboratory setting. Though Hertz doubted this discovery would lead to any practical application, it provided the game-changing experimental results that inspired Guglielmo Marconi to develop a viable radio system, transmitting the first signals across the Atlantic Ocean in 1902.

It took fourteen years from an important experimental observation by Hertz until the radio became widespread. Now, we are interested in identifying key scientific findings since the year 2000 and working with big thinkers who can help foster their development into engineered products and services at a much faster pace. We aim to identify the modern-day equivalents of the Hertz experiment.

Who are we looking for

The Amazon Physical Science Fellowship application process is by invitation only. We are seeking pre-tenure and newly-tenured academics in the field of Physics. To qualify, you must have a PhD in Physics or a related discipline and have a current, or confirmed pending, professorial affiliation with an academic institution for not more than 10 years. In addition, it is preferred that you have:

  • Five or more years of research experience after a PhD in Physics or a related discipline
  • Well-established track record of routinely applying knowledge from other disciplines
  • Significant research analysis and technical leadership capabilities
  • Expertise in scalability of scientific techniques and establishing decision strategies
  • Experience leading technical research projects with multiple stakeholders
  • Publications at top-tier, peer-reviewed conferences and/or journals
  • Exceptional verbal and written communication and consensus-building skills with both technical and non-technical audiences

How you can participate

The selection process of the Amazon Physical Science Fellowship will take the shape of a competition that comprises of the following three rounds:

Round one

You received an email invitation with a link to set up a profile on the QMarkets platform. Once your profile is set up, you’ll be able to submit at least three entries for scientific results since the year 2000 that fundamentally change what you think is possible in developing technologies that will have a broad, positive impact in the world. These results can come from any discipline of Physics and should not be your own research. These results must be publicly available and already be published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Along with a link to the findings, you’ll be asked to write a brief description of the result that can be understood by an undergraduate in a technical field.

Participants who submit at least three valid entries during round one will be invited back to participate in round two.

Round two

During this phase, you’ll be presented with a number of randomly selected pairings of results obtained during round one and asked to vote which is the more important or game-changing result. You’ll then be able to browse or filter the consolidated list of round one submissions and select at least ten that you think are the most promising for additional evaluation. For those ten, you’ll be asked to write a 500-word opinion on why that result is important and what it might allow us to create for the next generation.

Ten applicants who evaluated at least ten results will move on to round three, based on review by a prestigious panel of scientists from academia and industry, including Amazon scientists, MacArthur “Genius Award” winning physicist Hideo Mabuchi, and others.

Round three

The panel will invite five final candidates for interviews and select three individuals from this process to be named Amazon Physical Science Fellows. Except as provided in the terms and conditions and for fellows based in countries that do not allow cash prizes (e.g. Italy), fellows will receive $150,000 USD over three years in unrestricted gift funds for their research, as well as potential opportunities to further collaborate with Amazon.

If you have questions: Feel free to reach out to Brendan Wyker, senior product manager for Amazon Special Projects.

Terms and conditions: Click here to read detailed terms and conditions.

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