Since 1986, the Department of Physics at the University of Illinois has presented an annual award to an outstanding young researcher in condensed matter physics in memory of the late colleague, William L. McMillan. In the spirit of Bill McMillan's own research, the award recognizes exceptional achievements in theory, experiment, or both.
In 2017, Luqiao Liu was selected for the McMillan Award. The citation reads: "for the demonstration of a large spin transfer torque and magnetic switching in metals induced by the spin Hall effect." Luqiao Liu is the Robert J. Shillman (1074) Career Development Assistant Professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT. His research has recently focused on studying the properties of various magnetic/spin-related materials and applying them in magnetic memory and spin-based logic.
The William L. McMillan Award was established by his friends and colleagues to recognize outstanding contributions by a young condensed matter physicist. One of the most creative and distinguished members of the Physics Department at University of Illinois from 1972 until his untimely death in 1984, Professor McMillan was noted for his basic and unique contributions to many areas of condensed matter physics, including liquid helium, superconductivity, liquid crystals, layer compounds, spin glasses, and localization phenomena. In many of these areas, he made novel applications of computer techniques to obtain increased physical understanding of complex many-body systems.