Sekazi Mtingwa awarded 2023 AAAS Abelson Prize


The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has announced the 2023 winners of eight longstanding awards for outstanding achievements, and we are delighted to report that Sekazi Mtingwa has won this year's AAAS Philip Hauge Abelson Prize. This award recognizes someone who has made significant contributions to the scientific community — whether through research, policy or civil service — in the US. The awardee can be a public servant, scientist or individual in any field who has made sustained, exceptional contributions and other notable services to the scientific community. Dr Mtingwa exemplifies a commitment to service and dedication to the scientific community, research workforce and society. His contributions have shaped research, public policy and the next generation of scientific leaders, according to the award’s selection committee.

As a theoretical physicist, Mtingwa pioneered work on intrabeam scattering that is foundational to particle accelerator research. Today a principal partner at Triangle Science, Education and Economic Development, where he consults on STEM education and economic development, Mtingwa has been affiliated during his scientific career with North Carolina A&T State University, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and several national laboratories.

[Speakers]Sekazi Mtingwa (second from right) at the World Science Forum in Jordan in November 2017 with fellow speakers in the Thematic Session "Light Sources and Crystallographic Sciences for Sustainable Development" (from left): Juste Jean-Paul Ngome Abiaga (UNESCO), Michele Zema (IUCr), Giorgio Paolucci (SESAME), Maciej Nalecz (UNESCO) and Simon Connell (African Lightsource initiative).

His contributions to the scientific community have included a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion in physics. He co-founded the National Society of Black Physicists, the National Society of Hispanic Physicists, the African Physical Society and the African Lightsource Foundation. He is also co-founder and chair of LAAAMP, the IUPAP/IUCr/ICTP Lightsources for Africa, the Americas, Asia, Middle East and Pacific project. His work has also contributed to rejuvenating university nuclear science and engineering programs and paving the way for the next generation of nuclear scientists and engineers. Mtingwa served as the chair of a 2008 American Physical Society study on the readiness of the U.S. nuclear workforce, the results of which played a key role in the U.S. Department of Energy allocating 20% of its nuclear fuel cycle R&D budget to university programmes.

“I have devoted myself to being an apostle for science for those both at home and abroad who face limited research and training opportunities,” said Mtingwa. “Receiving the highly prestigious Philip Hauge Abelson Prize affirms that I have been successful in this mission. Moreover, it provides me with the armor to press onward to even greater contributions.”

Mtingwa was honoured with a tribute video at the 2023 AAAS Annual Meeting, held in Washington, DC, in March 2023. The prize includes a commemorative plaque and USD 5000.

13 April 2023

Copyright © - All Rights Reserved - International Union of Crystallography

The permanent URL for this article is