PVSC Awards

William R. Cherry Award Winner

2019 IEEE William Cherry Award to be presented at the 46th IEEE PVSC to

Professor Harry Atwater

Prof. Harry Atwater, Howard Hughes Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science at the California Institute of Technology, will receive the 2019 IEEE William Cherry Award in recognition of his many and outstanding contributions to photovoltaic science and technology.

Over more than 35 years, Harry Atwater’s research topics have shown his passion for PV from his first paper forming silicon absorbers via zone-melt crystallization (1982) to his most recent on optics for spectral-splitting to achieve ultrahigh efficient modules. His contributions to both the science and technology of photovoltaics, as disseminated through PVSC and EDS, and his creativity are widely recognized and seemingly unbounded, evident in more than 450 publications. Equally remarkable, he co-founded six companies including ETC Solar (commercializing effectively transparent contacts), Luminescent Energy, and Alta Devices.

Harry Atwater’s scientific interests have two themes: photovoltaic solar energy conversion and light-matter interactions in materials. He has created new high efficiency solar cell designs and has pioneered principles for light management in solar cells. Atwater is the co-founder of Alta Devices, a solar photovoltaics company in Santa Clara, CA, that holds the current world records for one-Sun single-junction solar cell efficiency and module efficiency. Atwater is also an early pioneer in nanophotonics and plasmonics.

He is the founding Editor in Chief for the journal ACS Photonics, and is Associate Editor for the IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics. In 2006, he founded the Gordon Research Conference on Plasmonics, where he served as chair in 2008. He is also the founding Director of the Resnick Sustainability Institute at Caltech, and he currently serves as Director of the DOE Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, and as the Strategic Director for the QESST ERC program.

Professor Atwater received his B. S., M. S. and Ph.D. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology respectively in 1981, 1983 and 1987. He held the IBM Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard University from 1987-1988 and has been a member of the Caltech faculty since 1988.


About the Award

This award is named in honor of William R. Cherry, a founder of the photovoltaic community. In the 1950's, he was instrumental in establishing solar cells as the ideal power source for space satellites and for recognizing, advocating, and nurturing the use of photovoltaic systems for terrestrial applications. The William R. Cherry award was instituted in l980, shortly after his death. The purpose of the award is to recognize an individual engineer or scientist who devoted a part of their professional life to the advancement of the science and technology of photovoltaic energy conversion. The nominee must have made significant contributions to the science and/or technology of PV energy conversion, with dissemination by substantial publications and presentations. Professional society activities, promotional and/or organizational efforts and achievements are not considerations in the election for the award.

Award Package

The award consists of a plaque, monetary award, recognition at the PVSC Opening Ceremony and a dedicated Cherry Award Talk during the Opening Ceremony. In addition, a reception is held in honor of the Cherry Award winner during the PVSC.

Rules & Eligibility

  • Nominee must be a scientist or engineer who has made significant contributions to the science and/or technology of PV energy conversion, with dissemination by substantial publications and presentations.
  • Nominee must have had an extended period of activity in PV, contributions to the PVSC, and the expectation of continued activity.¬† Single outstanding contributions are not sufficient.
  • Professional and/or organizational efforts and achievements are not considerations for this award.
  • Nominees are not required to be members of IEEE or EDS.
  • Nominees from any country and institution are eligible.¬†
  • Previous recipients of the Cherry Award are not eligible.
  • Self-nominations will not be accepted.
  • Nominations may be re-submitted in subsequent years.

Nomination Package Requirements

  • Complete Electronic Nomination Form with name of nominee, and his/her current affiliation and contact information.
  • Nominator's name, address, phone number and e-mail address.
  • A rationale (less than 150 words) of the nominee's contributions to the advancement of the PV field.
  • A citation (less that 40 words) listing the nominee's specific contributions to make them deserving of the award.
  • A list of the nominee's activities in the field.
  • A current CV for the nominee.
  • Give a personal view of the work and contributions of the candidate. Quality is better than quantity: Multiple nominations for the same candidate are accepted as long as each nomination represents the personal view of the nominator and not just a copy of another nomination form.

Questions? Contact the Cherry Committee Awards Chair, Pierre Verlinden at [email protected]



David Carlson
Cherry Committee Chair
BP Solar

Pierre Verlinden
Cherry Award Chair
Trina Solar

Tim Anderson
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Sheila G. Bailey
NASA Glenn Research Center

Allen M. Barnett
University of New South Wales

Paul Basore
PV Specialist Services LLC

John Benner
Stanford University

Henry W. Brandhorst, Jr.
Auburn University

Timothy Coutts
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Keith Emery
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Dennis J. Flood
North Coast Initiatives Ltd.

Americo F. Forestieri
MOE Consulting

Alex Freundlich
University of Houston

Vasilis Fthenakis
Columbia University

Martin A. Green
University of New South Wales

Christiana Honsberg
Arizona State University

Lawrence L. Kazmerski
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Richard R. King
Arizona State University

Sarah Kurtz
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

John D. Meakin
University of Delaware

Ryne Raffaelle
Rochester Institute of Technology

Eugene Ralph
PV Consulting

Angus Rockett
Colorado School of Mines

Angele Reinders
University of Twente

Ajeet Rohatgi
Georgia Institute of Technology

Steve Ringel
Ohio State University

BJ Stanbery
Helios Corporation

Ronald A. Sinton
Sinton Instruments

Dick Swanson

Robert J. Walters
Naval Research Laboratory

Stuart Wenham
University of New South Wales

David Wilt
Cherry Award Co-Chair
U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory

Christopher R. Wronski
Pennsylvania State University

Masafumi Yamaguchi
Toyota Technological Institute

Eli Yablonovitch
UC Berkeley

Previous Recipients

Dr. Paul Rappaport 1980

Dr. Joseph L. Loferski 1981

Prof. Martin Wolf 1982

Dr. Henry W. Brandhors
t 1984

Mr. Eugene L. Ralph

Dr. Charles E. Backus

Dr. David E. Carlson 1988

Dr. Martin A. Green 1990

Mr. Peter A. Iles 1991

Dr. Lawrence L. Kazmerski 1993

Prof. Yoshihiro Hamakawa

Dr. Allen M. Barnett

Dr. Adolf Goetzberger

Dr. Richard J. Schwartz 1998

Dr. Christopher R. Wronski 2000

Dr. Richard M. Swanson 2002

Dr. Ajeet Rohatgi 2003

Dr. Timothy J. Coutts 2005

Dr. Antonio Luque 2006

Dr. Masafumi Yamaguchi

Dr. Stuart Wenham 2009

Dr. Richard R. King 2010

Dr. Jerry M. Olson 2011

Dr. Sarah Kurtz 2012

Dr. Keith Emery 2013

Dr. Ronald A. Sinton 2014

Dr. Christiana Honsberg 2015

Dr. Pierre Verlinden 2016

Prof. Eli Yablonovitch 2017

Prof. Vasilis Fthenakis 2018