Professor Louis Bloomfield Robert Ullman

The Jefferson Scholars Foundation at the University has awarded Louis A. Bloomfield its 2011 Faculty Prize. Bloomfield, a professor in the Department of Physics, has been a member of the faculty since 1985. 

Awarded every other year to an outstanding UVA faculty member, the Jefferson Scholars Foundation Faculty Prize is meant to foster an ongoing dialogue about Jeffersonian ideals. The recipient, selected by the Jefferson Scholars Alumni Advisory Committee, recognizes and celebrates commitment to leadership, scholarship, and citizenship, the same criteria used in the selection of Jefferson Scholars. 

Upon learning the he had received the Prize, Mr. Bloomfield said: “In a culture that so often reduces higher education to the business of credentialing and career advancement, the Jefferson Scholars Foundation has been a steadfast champion of scholarship and of the academic community that is the University of Virginia. We share the same love of learning, sharing, and discovery, and I am truly flattered and honored to be associated with the Foundation.”

Mr. Bloomfield’s class, “How Things Work,” has long been one of the most popular offerings at the University. This class, along with his introductory textbook How Things Work: The Physics of Everyday Life, his book for general readership entitled How Everything Works: Making Physics Out of the Ordinary, and his website,, have allowed him to introduce physics to legions of people in the general public.

Well respected as well as very popular with 25 years of UVA students, Mr. Bloomfield is also highly recognized among his peers. He is the recipient of the Phi Eta Sigma Teacher of the Year Award, the Henry St. George Tucker Award, the Alumni Board of Trustees Young Faculty Teaching Award, and the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Outstanding Faculty Award. He has also received awards from the American Association of Physics Teachers, the National Science Foundation, and the American Physical Society. 

“Professor Bloomfield’s passion and commitment to his students have made him a powerful force at the University. His long list of accomplishments is unusually impressive, and he is a most worthy recipient of the Faculty Prize,” said Jimmy Wright, President of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation.

Professor Bloomfield is the author of 104 publications in the fields of atomic clusters, physics education, autoionizing states, high-resolution laser spectroscopy , nonlinear optics, and computer science. He has also presented 56 invited talks in the United States and internationally. 

A National Science Foundation pre-doctoral fellow at Stanford University, he received a Ph.D. in Physics from Stanford and received his BA from Amherst College. Prior to joining the University of Virginia faculty, he was a post-doctoral member of the technical staff of AT&T Bell laboratories.

As a recipient of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation Faculty Prize, Bloomfield will receive $5,000 to support future research and inquiry and will be granted the opportunity to address the University community on the ideals of leadership and citizenship in the field of physics.

About the Jefferson Scholars Foundation: The 30-year-old not for profit Jefferson Scholars Foundation serves the University of Virginia by identifying , attracting and nurturing individuals of extraordinary range and depth who possess the highest qualities of leadership, scholarship, and citizenship. For additional information visit