Nobel prize for physics



1901 Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen
1902 Hendrik Antoon Lorentz, Pieter Zeeman
1903 Antoine Henri Becquerel, Pierre Curie, Marie Curie
1904 Lord (John William Strutt) Rayleigh
1905 Philipp Eduard Anton von Lenard
1906 Sir Joseph John Thomson
1907 Albert Abraham Michelson
1908 Gabriel Jonas Lippmann
1909 Guglielmo Marconi, Karl Ferdinand Braun
1910 Johannes Diderik van der Waals
1911 Wilhelm Carl Werner Otto Fritz Franz Wien
1912 Nils Gustaf Dalen
1913 Heike Kamerlingh Onnes
1914 Max Theodor Felix von Laue
1915 Sir William Henry Bragg, Sir William Lawrence Bragg
1917 Charles Glover Barkla
1918 Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck
1919 Johannes Stark
1920 Charles Edouard Guillaume
1921 Albert Einstein
1922 Niels Henrik David Bohr
1923 Robert Andrews Millikan
1924 Karl Manne Georg Siegbahn
1925 James Franck, Gustav Ludwig Herz
1926 Jean Baptiste Perrin
1927 Arthur Holly Compton, Charles Thomson Rees Wilson
1928 Sir Owen Willans Richardson
1929 Prince Louis-Victor Pierre Raymond de Broglie
1930 Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman
1932 Werner Heisenberg
1933 Erwin Schrodinger, Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac
1935 Sir James Chadwick
1936 Victor Franz Hess, Carl David Anderson
1937 Clinton Joseph Davisson, Sir George Paget Thomson
1938 Enrico Fermi
1939 Ernest Orlando Lawrence
1943 Otto Stern
1944 Isidor Isaac Rabi
1945 Wolfgang Pauli
1946 Percy W. Bridgman
1947 Sir Edward V. Appleton
1948 Lord Patrick M.S. Blackett
1949 Hideki Yukawa
1950 Cecil F. Powell
1951 Sir John D. Cockcroft, Ernest T.S. Walton
1952 Felix Bloch, Edward Mills Purcell
1953 Frits Zernike
1954 Max Born, Walther Bothe
1955 Willis Eugene Lamb, Polykarp Kusch
1956 William Shockley, John Bardeen, Walter Houser Brattain
1957 Chen Ning Yang, Tsung-Dao Lee
1958 Pavel A. Cherenkov, Ilya M. Frank, Igor Y. Tamm
1959 Emilio Gino Segre, Owen Chamberlain
1960 Donald A. Glaser
1961 Robert Hofstadter, Rudolf L. Moessbauer
1962 Lev Davidovich Landau
1963 Eugene P. Wigner, Maria Goeppert-Mayer, Johannes Hans D. Jensen
1964 Charles H. Townes, Nikolai G. Basov, Alexander M. Prokhorov
1965 Sin-Itiro Tomonaga, Julian S. Schwinger, Richard P. Feynman
1966 Alfred Kastler
1967 Hans Albrecht Bethe
1968 Luis W. Alvarez
1969 Murray Gell-Mann
1970 Hannes Olof Gosta Alfven, Louis Eugene Felix Neel
1971 Dennis Gabor
1972 John Bardeen, Leon N. Cooper, Robert J. Schrieffer
1973 Leo Esaki, Ivar Giaever, Brian D. Josephson
1974 Sir Martin Ryle, Antony Hewish
1975 Aage Niels Bohr, Benjamin R. Mottelson, Leo James Rainwater
1976 Burton Richter, Samuel Ting
1977 Philip W. Anderson , Sir Nevill Francis Mott , John H. Van Vleck
1978 Pyotr Leonidovich Kapitsa, Arno A. Penzias , Robert W. Wilson
1979 Sheldon L. Glashow , Abdus Salam , Steven Weinberg
1980 James W. Cronin, Val Logsdon Fitch
1981 omylem jsem smazal
1982 Kenneth G. Wilson
1983 Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, William Alfred Fowler
1984 Carlo Rubbia , Simon Van Der Meer
1985 Klaus Von Klitzing
1986 Ernst Ruska, Gerd Binning , Heinrich Rohrer
1987 Georg J. Bednorz , Karl Alexander Muller
1988 Leon M. Lederman , Melvin Schwartz , Jack Steinberger
1989 Norman F. Ramsey, Hans G. Dehmelt, Wolfgang Paul
1990 Jerome I. Friedman , Henry W. Kendall, Richard E. Taylor
1991 Pierre-Gilles de Gennes
1992 Georges Charpak
1993 Russell A. Hulse, Joseph H. Taylor, Jr.
1994 Bertram N. Brockhouse, Clifford G. Shull
1995 Martin L. Perl, Frederick Reines
1996 David M. Lee , Douglas D. Osheroff , Robert C. Richardson
1997 Steven Chu, Claude Cohen-Tannoudji , William D. Phillips
1977 - John Hasbrouck Van Vleck

American physicist and mathematician who shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1977 with Philip W. Anderson and Sir Nevill F. Mott. The prize honoured Van Vleck's contributions to the understanding of the behaviour of electrons in magnetic, noncrystalline solid materials. Educated at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and at Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D. in 1922, Van Vleck joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, in 1924. He taught at Wisconsin from 1928 to 1934, and he then went to Harvard, where he eventually served as chairman of the physics department (1945-49), dean of engineering and applied physics (1951-57), and Hollis professor of mathematics and natural philosophy (1951-69). Van Vleck developed during the early 1930s the first fully articulated quantum mechanical theory of magnetism. Later he was a chief architect of the ligand field theory of molecular bonding. He contributed also to studies of the spectra of free molecules, of paramagnetic relaxation, and other topics. His publications include Quantum Principles and Line Spectra (1926) and The Theory of Electric and Magnetic Susceptibilities (1932).

1977 - Sir Nevill Francis Mott
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English physicist who shared (with P.W. Anderson and J.H. Van Vleck of the United States) the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1977 for his independent researches on the magnetic and electrical properties of noncrystalline, or amorphous, semiconductors. Mott earned bachelor's (1927) and master's (1930) degrees at the University of Cambridge. He became a professor of theoretical physics at the University of Bristol in 1933. At Bristol his work in solid-state physics included studies of metals and metal alloys, semiconductors, and photographic emulsions. In 1938 Mott devised the theoretical description of the effect that light has on a photographic emulsion at the atomic level. In 1954 he became Cavendish professor of experimental physics at the University of Cambridge, retiring in 1971. Mott's studies of electrical conduction in various metals led him in the 1960s to explore the conductivity potential of amorphous materials, which are so called because their atomic structures are irregular or unstructured. He devised formulas describing the transitions that glass and other amorphous substances can make between electrically conductive (metallic) states and insulating (nonmetallic) states, thereby functioning as semiconductors. These glassy substances, which are relatively simple and cheap to produce, eventually replaced more expensive crystalline semiconductors in many electronic switching and memory devices, and this in turn led to more affordable personal computers, pocket calculators, copying machines, and other electronic devices. Mott was knighted in 1962.

1977 - Philip Warren Anderson

Physicist who won a Nobel Prize for his part in the development of advanced electronic circuitry. Educated at Harvard University, Anderson received his doctorate in 1949. From 1949 to 1984 he worked at Bell Telephone Laboratories in Murray Hill, N.J. From 1967 to 1975 he was professor of theoretical physics at the University of Cambridge, and from 1975 he taught at Princeton University. For his research in solid-state physics, which made possible the development of inexpensive electronic switching and memory devices in computers, he was awarded jointly with John H. Van Vleck and Sir Nevill F. Mott the 1977 Nobel Prize for Physics. In 1982 he was awarded the National Medal of Science. His writings include Concepts of Solids (1963) and Basic Notions of Condensed Matter Physics (1984). Anderson was a certified first degree-master of the Japanese board game Go.

1978 - Kenneth Geddes Wilson

American physicist who was awarded the 1982 Nobel Prize for Physics for his development of a general procedure for constructing improved theories concerning the transformations of matter called continuous, or second-order, phase transitions. Wilson graduated from Harvard University in 1956. In 1961 he received a Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology, where he completed a dissertation under Murray Gell-Mann (winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1969) and Francis Low. After a year at the European Council for Nuclear Research, Wilson was appointed assistant professor at Cornell University in 1963; he was professor of physics from 1971 to 1988. Wilson did his prizewinning work on phase transitions while at Cornell. Second-order phase transitions of matter take place at characteristic temperatures (or pressures), but unlike first-order transitions they occur throughout the entire volume of a material as soon as that temperature (called the critical point) is reached. One example of such a transition is the complete loss of ferromagnetic properties of certain metals when they are heated to their Curie points (about 750 C for iron). Wilson's work provided a mathematical strategy for constructing theories that could apply to physical systems near the critical point. From 1988 Wilson taught at Ohio State University.

1978 - Arno Allan Penzias

German-American astrophysicist who shared one-half of the 1978 Nobel Prize for Physics with Robert Woodrow Wilson for their discovery of a faint electromagnetic radiation throughout the universe. Their detection of this radiation lent strong support to the big-bang model of cosmic evolution. (The other half of the Nobel Prize was awarded to the Soviet physicist Pyotr Leonidovich Kapitsa for unrelated work.) Educated at City College of New York in New York City and Columbia University, where he received his doctorate in 1962, Penzias joined Bell Telephone Laboratories in Holmdel, N.J. In collaboration with Wilson he began monitoring radio emissions from a ring of gas encircling the Milky Way Galaxy. Unexpectedly, the two scientists detected a uniform microwave radiation that suggested a residual thermal energy throughout the universe of about 3 K. Most scientists now agree that this is the residual background radiation stemming from the primordial explosion billions of years ago from which the universe was created. In 1976 Penzias became director of the Bell Radio Research Laboratory and in 1981 vice president of research at Bell Laborator

1978 - Pyotr Leonidovich Kapitsa

Soviet physicist who was a corecipient of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1978 for his research in magnetism and low-temperature physics. He discovered that helium II (the stable form of liquid helium below 2.174 K, or -270.976 C) has almost no viscosity (i.e., resistance to flow). This property is called superfluidity. (The award was shared by astronomers Arno Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson for unrelated work.) Educated at the Petrograd Polytechnical Institute, Kapitsa remained there as a lecturer until 1921. After his first wife and their two small children died of illness during the chaos of the civil war that followed the Revolution, he went to England to study at the University of Cambridge. There he worked with Ernest Rutherford and became assistant director of magnetic research at the Cavendish Laboratory in 1924, designing apparatus that achieved a magnetic field of 500,000 gauss, which was not surpassed in strength until 1956. He was made a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1925 and elected to the Royal Society in 1929, one of only a small number of foreigners to become a fellow. The Royal Society Mond Laboratory was built at Cambridge especially for him in 1932. In 1934, before he had published his paper on an expansion engine that liquefies helium, Kapitsa went to a professional meeting in the Soviet Union, where his passport was seized and he was detained there by Stalin's orders. In 1935 he was made director of the Institute of Physical Problems of the Soviet Academy of Sciences in Moscow and managed through the intercession of Rutherford to have the Mond Laboratory apparatus shipped to Moscow. He continued his research in low-temperature physics and discovered superfluidity in helium II while investigating its heat-conduction properties. His findings were first published in 1938, with further research on the subject described in The Heat Transfer and Superfluidity of Helium II (1941) and Research into the Mechanism of Heat Transfer in Helium II (1941). In 1939 he built apparatus for producing large quantities of liquid oxygen for the Soviet steel industry during World War II. For his achievements in science during the 1930s and 1940s, Kapitsa was given many honours by the Soviet government, including the title Hero of Socialist Labour (1945), the Soviet Union's highest civilian award. In 1946 Kapitsa apparently refused to work on nuclear weapons development and as a result fell out of favour with Stalin. He was dismissed from his post as head of the Institute for Physical Problems and resided at his country house, or dacha, until after Stalin's death in 1953. He conducted original researches on ball lightning during his seclusion. Kapitsa was then restored (1955) as director of the institute, a position he kept until his death. Kapitsa's research on high-power microwave generators in the late 1950s turned his interests to controlled thermonuclear fusion, upon which he published a series of papers beginning in 1969. An outspoken advocate of free scientific thought, in the 1960s he was one of the Soviet scientists who campaigned to preserve Lake Baikal from industrial pollution. He was also active in the Pugwash movement, a series of international conferences aimed at channeling scientific research into constructive rather than destructive purposes.

1979 - Steven Weinberg

American nuclear physicist who in 1979 shared the Nobel Prize for Physics with Sheldon Lee Glashow and Abdus Salam for work in formulating the electroweak theory, which explains the unity of electromagnetism with the weak nuclear force. Weinberg and Glashow were members of the same classes at the Bronx High School of Science, New York City (1950), and Cornell University (1954). Weinberg went from Cornell to the Nordic Institute for Theoretical Atomic Physics in Copenhagen for a year and then obtained his doctorate at Princeton University in 1957. Weinberg proposed his version of the electroweak theory in 1967. Electromagnetism and the weak force were both known to operate by the interchange of subatomic particles. Electromagnetism can operate at potentially infinite distances by means of massless particles called photons, while the weak force operates only at subatomic distances by means of massive particles called bosons. Weinberg was able to show that despite their apparent dissimilarities, photons and bosons are actually members of the same family of particles. His work, along with that of Glashow and Salam, made it possible to predict the outcome of new experiments in which elementary particles are made to impinge on one another. An important series of experiments in 1982-83 found strong evidence for the W and Z particles predicted by these scientists' electroweak theory. Weinberg conducted research at Columbia University and at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory before joining the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley in 1960. During part of his last two years there, 1968-69, he was visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; he joined its faculty in 1969, moving to Harvard University in 1973 and to the University of Texas at Austin in 1983.

1979 - Abdus Salam

Pakistani nuclear physicist who was the corecipient with Steven Weinberg and Sheldon Lee Glashow of the 1979 Nobel Prize for Physics for their work in formulating the electroweak theory, which explains the unity of the weak nuclear force and electromagnetism. Salam attended the Government College at Lahore, and in 1952 he received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of Cambridge. He returned to Pakistan as a professor of mathematics in 1951-54 and then went back to Cambridge as a lecturer in mathematics. He became professor of theoretical physics at the Imperial College of Science and Technology, London, in 1957. Salam was the first Pakistani and the first Muslim scientist to win a Nobel Prize. In 1964 he helped found the International Centre for Theoretical Physics at Trieste, Italy, in order to provide support for physicists from Third World countries. He served as the centre's director until his death. Salam carried out his Nobel Prize-winning research at the Imperial College of Science and Technology in the 1960s. His hypothetical equations, which demonstrated an underlying relationship between the electromagnetic force and the weak nuclear force, postulated that the weak force must be transmitted by hitherto-undiscovered particles known as weak vector bosons, or W and Z bosons. Weinberg and Glashow reached a similar conclusion using a different line of reasoning. The existence of the W and Z bosons was eventually verified in 1983 by researchers using particle accelerators at CERN.

1979 - Sheldon Lee Glashow

American theoretical physicist who, with Steven Weinberg and Abdus Salam, received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1979 for their complementary efforts in formulating the electroweak theory, which explains the unity of electromagnetism and the weak force. Glashow was the son of Jewish immigrants from Russia. He and Weinberg were members of the same classes at the Bronx High School of Science, New York City (1950), and Cornell University (1954). Glashow received his Ph.D. in physics from Harvard University in 1959. He joined the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley in 1961 and returned to Harvard as a professor of physics in 1967. In the 1960s Weinberg and Salam had each independently devised a theory by which the weak nuclear force and the electromagnetic force could be conceived as manifestations of a single unified force called the electroweak force. Their theory could be applied only to leptons, however, a class of particles that includes electrons and neutrinos. Glashow found a way to extend their theory to other classes of elementary particles, notably baryons (e.g., protons and neutrons) and mesons. In doing so, Glashow had to invent a new property for quarks, which are the fundamental particles that constitute baryons and mesons. This new property, which Glashow called "charm," provided a valuable extension of the theory of quarks.

1980 - Val Logsdon Fitch

American particle physicist who was corecipient with James Watson Cronin of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1980 for an experiment conducted in 1964 that disproved the long-held theory that particle interaction should be indifferent to the direction of time. Fitch's early interest in chemistry shifted to physics in the mid-1940s when, as a member of the U.S. Army, he was sent to Los Alamos, N.M., to work on the Manhattan Project. He graduated from McGill University in Montreal with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1948 and was awarded a Ph.D. in physics by Columbia University in 1954. He then joined the faculty of Princeton University that year. In experiments conducted at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in 1964, Fitch and Cronin showed that the decay of subatomic particles called K mesons could violate the general conservation law for weak interactions known as CP symmetry. This experiment in turn necessitated physicists' abandonment of the long-held principle of time-reversal invariance. The work done by Fitch and Cronin implied that reversing the direction of time would not precisely reverse the course of certain reactions of subatomic particles.

1980 - James Watson Cronin

American particle physicist, corecipient with Val Logsdon Fitch of the 1980 Nobel Prize for Physics for an experiment that implied that reversing the direction of time would not precisely reverse the course of certain reactions of subatomic particles. Cronin graduated from Southern Methodist University at Dallas, Texas, in 1951 and received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1955. He then joined the staff of the Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, N.Y., and in 1958 became a professor at Princeton University. Cronin and his colleague Fitch played a role in modifying the long-held notion that the laws of symmetry and conservation are inviolable. One of these laws, the principle of time invariance (designated T), states that particle interactions should be indifferent to the direction of time. This symmetry and two others, those of charge conjugation (C) and parity conservation (P), were once thought to govern all the laws of physics. But in 1956 the physicists Chen Ning Yang and Tsung-Dao Lee suggested, correctly, that parity conservation could be violated by particle decays involving weak interactions. Physicists abandoned the view that C, P, and T are independently true for weak interactions, but saved the overall concept by proposing that any P violation must be offset by an equal C violation, a concept known as CP symmetry. In a series of experiments conducted at Brookhaven in 1964, Cronin and Fitch showed that in rare instances subatomic particles called K mesons violate CP symmetry during their decay. (See CP violation.) In 1971 Cronin was appointed professor of physics at the University of Chicago.

1982 - Kenneth Geddes Wilson

American physicist who was awarded the 1982 Nobel Prize for Physics for his development of a general procedure for constructing improved theories concerning the transformations of matter called continuous, or second-order, phase transitions. Wilson graduated from Harvard University in 1956. In 1961 he received a Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology, where he completed a dissertation under Murray Gell-Mann (winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1969) and Francis Low. After a year at the European Council for Nuclear Research, Wilson was appointed assistant professor at Cornell University in 1963; he was professor of physics from 1971 to 1988. Wilson did his prizewinning work on phase transitions while at Cornell. Second-order phase transitions of matter take place at characteristic temperatures (or pressures), but unlike first-order transitions they occur throughout the entire volume of a material as soon as that temperature (called the critical point) is reached. One example of such a transition is the complete loss of ferromagnetic properties of certain metals when they are heated to their Curie points (about 750 C for iron). Wilson's work provided a mathematical strategy for constructing theories that could apply to physical systems near the critical point. From 1988 Wilson taught at Ohio State University.

1983 - William Alfred Fowler

American nuclear astrophysicist who, with Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1983 for his role in formulating a widely accepted theory of element generation. Fowler studied at Ohio State University (B.S., 1933) and at the California Institute of Technology (Ph.D., 1936), where he became a professor in 1939. His theory of element generation, which he developed with Sir Fred Hoyle, Margaret Burbidge, and Geoffrey Burbidge in the 1950s, suggests that in stellar evolution elements are synthesized progressively from light elements to heavy ones, in nuclear reactions that also produce light and heat. With the collapse of more massive stars, the explosive rebound known as supernova occurs; according to theory, this phase makes possible the synthesis of the heaviest elements. Fowler also worked in radio astronomy, proposing with Hoyle that the cores of radio galaxies are collapsed "superstars" emitting strong radio waves and that quasars are larger versions of these collapsed superstars. Fowler received the National Medal of Science (1974) and the Legion of Honour (1989).

1983 - Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

Indian-born American astrophysicist who, with William A. Fowler, won the 1983 Nobel Prize for Physics for formulating the currently accepted theory on the later evolutionary stages of massive stars. Chandrasekhar was the nephew of Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1930. Chandrasekhar was educated at Presidency College, at the University of Madras, and at Trinity College, Cambridge. From 1933 to 1937 he held a position at Trinity. By the early 1930s, scientists had concluded that, after converting all of their hydrogen to helium, stars lose energy and contract under the influence of their own gravity. These stars, known as white dwarf stars, contract to about the size of the Earth, and the electrons and nuclei of their constituent atoms are compressed to a state of extremely high density. Chandrasekhar determined what is known as the Chandrasekhar limit--that a star having a mass more than 1.44 times that of the Sun does not form a white dwarf but instead continues to collapse, blows off its gaseous envelope in a supernova explosion, and becomes a neutron star. An even more massive star continues to collapse and becomes a black hole. These calculations contributed to the eventual understanding of supernovas, neutron stars, and black holes. Chandrasekhar joined the staff of the University of Chicago, rising from assistant professor of astrophysics (1938) to Morton D. Hull distinguished service professor of astrophysics (1952), and became a U.S. citizen in 1953. He did important work on energy transfer by radiation in stellar atmospheres and convection on the solar surface. He also attempted to develop the mathematical theory of black holes, describing his work in The Mathematical Theory of Black Holes (1983). Chandrasekhar was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1953 and the Royal Medal of the Royal Society in 1962. His other books include An Introduction to the Study of Stellar Structure (1939), Principles of Stellar Dynamics (1942), Radiative Transfer (1950), Hydrodynamic and Hydromagnetic Stability (1961), and Truth and Beauty: Aesthetics and Motivations in Science (1987).

1984 - Simon van der Meer

Dutch physical engineer who in 1984, with Carlo Rubbia, received the Nobel Prize for Physics for his contribution to the discovery of the massive, short-lived subatomic particles designated W and Z that were crucial to the unified electroweak theory posited in the 1970s by Steven Weinberg, Abdus Salam, and Sheldon Glashow. After receiving a degree in physical engineering from the Higher Technical School in Delft, Neth., in 1952, van der Meer worked for the Philips Company. In 1956 he joined the staff of CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research), near Geneva, where he remained until his retirement in 1990. The electroweak theory provided the first reliable estimates of the masses of the W and Z particles--nearly 100 times the mass of the proton. The most promising means of bringing about a physical interaction that would release enough energy to form the particles was to cause a beam of highly accelerated protons, moving through an evacuated tube, to collide with an oppositely directed beam of antiprotons. CERN's circular particle accelerator, four miles in circumference, was the first to be converted into a colliding-beam apparatus in which the desired experiments could be performed. Manipulation of the beams required a highly effective method for keeping the particles from scattering out of the proper path and hitting the walls of the tube. Van der Meer, in response to this problem, devised a mechanism that would monitor the particle scattering at a particular point on the ring and would trigger a device on the opposite side of the ring to modify the electric fields in such a way as to keep the particles on course.Celebrex

1984 - Carlo Rubbia

Italian physicist who in 1984 shared with Simon van der Meer the Nobel Prize for Physics for the discovery of the massive, short-lived subatomic W particle and Z particle. These particles are the carriers of the so-called weak force involved in the radioactive decay of atomic nuclei. Their existence strongly confirms the validity of the electroweak theory, proposed in the 1970s, that the weak force and electromagnetism are different manifestations of a single basic kind of physical interaction. Rubbia was educated at the Normal School of Pisa and the University of Pisa, earning a doctorate from the latter in 1957. He taught there for two years before moving to Columbia University as a research fellow. He joined the faculty of the University of Rome in 1960 and was appointed senior physicist at the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN; now the European Organization for Nuclear Research), Geneva, in 1962. In 1970 he was appointed professor of physics at Harvard University and thereafter divided his time between Harvard and CERN.

1985 - Klaus von Klitzing

German physicist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1985 for his discovery that under appropriate conditions the resistance offered by an electrical conductor is quantized; that is, it varies by discrete steps rather than smoothly and continuously. At the end of World War II, Klitzing was taken by his parents to live in West Germany. He attended the Technical University of Brunswick, graduating in 1969, and then earned a doctorate in physics at the University of Wurzburg in 1972. In 1980 he became a professor at the Technical University of Munich, and in 1985 he became director of the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Physics in Stuttgart, Ger. Klitzing demonstrated that electrical resistance occurs in very precise units by using the Hall effect. The Hall effect denotes the voltage that develops between the edges of a thin current-carrying ribbon placed between the poles of a strong magnet. The ratio of this voltage to the current is called the Hall resistance. When the magnetic field is very strong and the temperature very low, the Hall resistance varies only in the discrete jumps first observed by Klitzing. The size of those jumps is directly related to the so-called fine-structure constant, which defines the mathematical ratio between the motion of an electron in the innermost orbit around an atomic nucleus to the speed of light. The significance of Klitzing's discovery, made in 1980, was immediately recognized. His experiments enabled other scientists to study the conducting properties of electronic components with extraordinary precision. His work also aided in determining the precise value of the fine structure constant and in establishing convenient standards for the measurement of electrical resistance.

1986 - Heinrich Rohrer

Swiss physicist who, with Gerd Binnig, received half of the 1986 Nobel Prize for Physics for their joint invention of the scanning tunneling microscope. (Ernst Ruska received the other half of the prize.) Rohrer was educated at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and received his Ph.D. there in 1960. In 1963 he joined the IBM Research Laboratory in Zurich, where he remained. Binnig also joined the laboratory, and it was there that the two men designed and built the first scanning tunneling microscope. This instrument is equipped with a tiny tungsten probe whose tip, only about one or two atoms wide, is brought to within five or ten atoms' distance of the surface of a conducting or semiconducting material. (An atom is equal to about one angstrom, or one ten-billionth of a metre.) When the electric potential of the tip is made to differ by a few volts from that of the surface, quantum mechanical effects cause a measurable electric current to cross the gap. The strength of this current is extremely sensitive to the distance between the probe and the surface, and as the probe's tip scans the surface, it can be kept a fixed distance away by raising and lowering it so as to hold the current constant. A record of the elevation of the probe is a topographical map of the surface under study, on which the contour intervals are so small that the individual atoms making up the surface are clearly recognizable.

1986 - Gerd Binnig

German-born physicist who shared with Heinrich Rohrer half of the 1986 Nobel Prize for Physics for their invention of the scanning tunneling microscope. (Ernst Ruska won the other half of the prize.) Binnig graduated from Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt and received a doctorate from the University of Frankfurt in 1978. He then joined the IBM Research Laboratory in Zurich, where he and Rohrer designed and built the first scanning tunneling microscope (STM). This instrument produces images of the surfaces of conducting or semiconducting materials in such fine detail that individual atoms can be clearly identified. Quantum mechanical effects cause an electric current to pass between the extremely fine tip of the STM's tungsten probe and the surface being studied, and the distance between the probe and the surface is kept constant by measuring the current produced and adjusting the probe's height accordingly. By recording the varying elevations of the probe, a topographical map of the surface is obtained on which the contour intervals are so small that individual atoms are clearly recognizable. The tip of the STM's probe is only about one angstrom wide (one ten-billionth of a metre, or about the width of an atom), and the distance between it and the surface being studied is only about 5 or 10 angstroms. In 1984 Binnig joined the IBM Physics Group in Munich. In 1989 he published the book Aus dem Nichts ("Out of Nothing"), which posited that creativity grows from disorder.

1986 - Ernst August Friedrich Ruska

German electrical engineer who invented the electron microscope.Ruska studied at the Technical University of Munich during 1925-27 and then enrolled at the Technical University in Berlin. Around this time he began the studies that led to his invention of the electron microscope. The extent to which an optical microscope could resolve the detail of a highly magnified object was limited by the wavelengths of the light beams used to view the object. Since it had been established in the 1920s that electrons have the properties of waves about 100,000 times shorter than those of light, Ruska posited that if electrons could be focused on an object the same way light is, at extremely high magnifications the electrons would yield greater detail (i.e., have a greater resolving power) than would conventional light microscopes. In 1931 he built the first electron lens, an electromagnet that could focus a beam of electrons just as a lens focuses a beam of light. By using several such lenses in a series, he invented the first electron microscope in 1933. In this instrument, electrons were passed through a very thin slice of the object under study and were then deflected onto photographic film or onto a fluorescent screen, producing an image that could be greatly magnified. Ruska joined Siemens-Reiniger-Werke AG as a research engineer in 1937, and in 1939 the company brought out its first commercial electron microscope, which was based on his inventions. Ruska did research at Siemens until 1955 and then served as director of the Institute for Electron Microscopy of the Fritz Haber Institute from 1955 to 1972. He was also a longtime professor at the Technical University of West Berlin.

1987 - Karl Alexander Muller

Muller received his doctorate from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in 1958, and beginning in 1963 he performed research in solid-state physics at the IBM Zurich Research Laboratory, heading the physics department there for several years and becoming an IBM fellow in 1982. A specialist in the ceramic compounds known as oxides, Muller in the early 1980s began searching for substances that would become superconductive (i.e., conduct electricity with no resistance) at higher temperatures than had theretofore been obtained. The highest transition temperature (the temperature below which a material loses all electrical resistance) attainable at that time was about 23 K (-250 C [-418 F]). In 1983 Muller recruited Bednorz to help him systematically test various oxides, materials that a few recent studies had indicated might be suitable for superconductivity. In 1986 the two men succeeded in achieving superconductivity in a recently developed barium-lanthanum-copper oxide at a temperature of 35 K (-238 C [-396 F]), 12 K higher than had previously been achieved. Their discovery immediately prompted a wave of renewed superconductivity experiments by other scientists worldwide, this time using oxides, and within a year transition temperatures approaching 100 K (-173 C [-280 F]) had been achieved. The intense research generated by Muller's and Bednorz's discovery raised the prospect that superconductivity could be achieved at temperatures high enough for the generation and transmission of electric power, a feat that would have important economic implications.

1987 - Johannes Georg Bednorz

German physicist who, along with Karl Alex Muller, was awarded the 1987 Nobel Prize for Physics for their joint discovery of superconductivity in certain substances at temperatures higher than had previously been thought attainable. Bednorz graduated from the University of Munster in 1976 and earned his doctorate at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at Zurich in 1982. That same year he joined the IBM Zurich Research Laboratory, where he was recruited by Muller into the latter's studies of superconductivity. In 1983 the two men began systematically testing newly developed ceramic materials known as oxides in the hope that such substances could act as superconductors. In their efforts Bednorz was the experimenter in charge of the actual making and testing of the oxides. In 1986 the two men succeeded in achieving superconductivity in a barium-lanthanum-copper oxide at a temperature of 35 kelvins (-238 C [-396 F]), 12 K higher than the highest temperature at which superconductivity had previously been achieved in any substance.

1988 - Jack Steinberger

German-born American physicist who, along with Leon M. Lederman and Melvin Schwartz, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1988 for their joint discoveries concerning neutrinos. Steinberger immigrated to the United States in 1934. He studied physics at the University of Chicago, receiving his Ph.D. there in 1948. He was a professor of physics at Columbia University, New York City, from 1950 to 1971, and from 1968 he was a physicist at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switz. In the early 1960s Steinberger, along with his Columbia University colleagues Lederman and Schwartz, devised a landmark experiment in particle physics using the accelerator at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, N.Y. The three reseachers obtained the first laboratory-made stream of neutrinos--subatomic particles that have no electric charge and virtually no mass. In the process, they discovered a new type of neutrino called a muon neutrino. The high-energy neutrino beams that the three researchers produced became a basic research tool in the study of subatomic particles and nuclear forces. In particular, the use of such beams made possible the study of radioactive-decay processes involving the weak nuclear force, or weak interaction, one of the four fundamental forces in nature.

1988 - Melvin Schwartz

Schwartz studied physics at Columbia University, New York City, and received his Ph.D. there in 1958. He taught at Columbia from 1958 to 1966 and then was a professor of physics at Stanford University from 1966 to 1983. From 1970 he was president of Digital Pathways, Inc., a company that he founded to design computer-security systems. Schwartz received the Nobel Prize for research he and his Columbia colleagues Lederman and Steinberger performed at Brookhaven National Laboratory in 1960-62. Neutrinos almost never interact with matter, and consequently it had been extremely difficult to detect them in laboratory research. (It was estimated that from a sample of 10 billion neutrinos traveling through the Earth, only one neutrino would interact with a particle of matter during the entire passage.) Acting on Schwartz's suggestion, the three researchers devised a way to increase the statistical probability of neutrino interactions by producing a beam consisting of hundreds of billions of neutrinos and sending the beam through a detector of solid matter. To achieve this, the scientists used a particle accelerator to generate a stream of high-energy protons, which were then fired at a target made of the metal beryllium. The bombardment produced a stream of different particles, including those called pions (pi mesons) that, as they traveled, decayed into muons (mu mesons) and neutrinos. The stream of particles exiting from the beryllium target then passed through a steel barrier 13.4 m (44 feet) thick that filtered out all other particles except neutrinos. This pure neutrino beam subsequently entered a large aluminum detector in which a few neutrinos interacted with the aluminum atoms. In analyzing these interactions, the three physicists discovered a new type of neutrino, which came to be known as the muon neutrino .

1988 - Leon M. Lederman

Lederman was educated at the City College of New York (B.S., 1943) and received his Ph.D. in physics from Columbia University, New York City, in 1951. He joined the faculty at Columbia that same year and became a full professor there in 1958. From 1960 to 1962, Lederman, together with his fellow Columbia University researchers Schwartz and Steinberger, collaborated in an important experiment at the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, N.Y. There they used a particle accelerator to produce the first laboratory-made beam of neutrinos --elusive subatomic particles that have no detectable mass and no electric charge and that travel at the speed of light. It was already known that when neutrinos interact with matter, either electrons or electron-like particles known as muons (mu mesons) are created. It was not known, however, whether this indicated the existence of two distinct types of neutrinos. The three scientists' work at Brookhaven established that the neutrinos that produced muons were indeed a distinct (and previously unknown) type of neutrino, one which the scientists named muon neutrinos. The discovery of muon neutrinos subsequently led to the recognition of a number of different "families" of subatomic particles, and this eventually resulted in the standard model, a scheme that has been used to classify all known elementary particles.

1990 - Henry Way Kendall

American nuclear physicist who shared the 1990 Nobel Prize for Physics with Jerome Isaac Friedman and Richard E. Taylor for being the first researchers to obtain experimental evidence for the existence of the subatomic particles known as quarks. Kendall studied at Amherst (Mass.) College (B.A., 1950) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT (Ph.D., 1955), and, after serving as a U.S. National Science Foundation Fellow at MIT, taught and did research at Stanford University (1956-61). In 1961 he joined the faculty of MIT, becoming a full professor in 1967. Kendall and his colleagues were cited by the Nobel committee for their "breakthrough in our understanding of matter" achieved while working together at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center from 1967 to 1973. There they used a particle accelerator to direct a beam of high-energy electrons at target protons and neutrons. The way in which the electrons scattered from the targets indicated that the protons and neutrons were not the solid, uniformly dense bodies to be expected if they were truly fundamental particles, but were instead composed of still smaller particles. This confirmed the existence of the quarks that were first hypothesized independently in 1964 by Murray Gell-Mann at the California Institute of Technology and by George Zwerg. Kendall also did research in nuclear structure, in high-energy electron scattering, and in meson and neutrino physics. He was a founder of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

1990 - Richard Edward Taylor

Canadian physicist who in 1990 shared the Nobel Prize for Physics with Jerome Friedman and Henry Kendall for his collaboration in proving the existence of quarks, which are now generally accepted as being among the basic building blocks of matter. Taylor attended the University of Alberta, where he received his bachelor's degree (1950) and his master's degree (1952). He received his doctorate from Stanford University in 1962. He worked for a year at the University of California's Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, and from 1962 to 1968 he was a staff member at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). While at SLAC, he and Friedman and Kendall conducted the series of experiments that confirmed the hypothesis that protons and neutrons are made up of quarks. This discovery was crucial to the formulation of the currently accepted theoretical description of matter and its interactions, known as the standard model. Taylor became an associate professor at Stanford in 1968 and a full professor in 1970.

1990 - Jerome Isaac Friedman

American physicist who, together with Richard E. Taylor and Henry W. Kendall, received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1990 for their joint experimental confirmation of the fundamental particles known as quarks . Friedman was educated at the University of Chicago, from which he received his Ph.D. degree in 1956. After conducting research there and at Stanford University, where he met Taylor and Kendall, he began teaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1960. He became a full professor there in 1967 and head of the physics department in 1983. Friedman conducted his prizewinning research jointly with Kendall and Taylor at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center of Stanford University. In a series of experiments from 1967 to 1973, the three physicists used a particle accelerator to direct a beam of high-energy electrons at target protons and neutrons. They found that the manner in which the electrons scattered from the targets indicated that both protons and neutrons are composed of hard, electrically charged, pointlike particles. As the three men continued their experiments, it became clear that these particles corresponded to the fundamental particles called quarks, whose existence had been hypothesized in 1964 by Murray Gell-Mann and George Zweig.

1991 - Pierre-Gilles de Gennes

French physicist, who was awarded the 1991 Nobel Prize for Physics for his discoveries about the ordering of molecules in liquid crystals and polymers. The son of a physician, Gennes studied at the Ecole Normale Superieure ("Upper Normal School"). He was employed as an engineer at the French Atomic Energy Commission (1955-61) and then was a professor with the Orsay Liquid Crystals Group of the University of Paris (1961-71) and a professor at the College de France (from 1971). Gennes investigated how extremely complex forms of matter behave during the transition from order to disorder. He showed how electrically or mechanically induced phase changes transform liquid crystals from a transparent to an opaque state, the phenomenon exploited in liquid-crystal displays. His research on polymers contributed to understanding how the long molecular chains in molten polymers move, making it possible for scientists to better determine and control polymer properties. A few of the judges on the Nobel committee described Gennes as "the Isaac Newton of our time" in having successfully applied mathematics to generalized explanations of several different physical phenomena.

1992 - Georges Charpak

Polish-born French physicist, winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1992 for his invention of subatomic particle detectors, in particular the multiwire proportional chamber. Charpak's family moved from Poland to Paris when he was seven years old. During World War II Charpak served in the resistance and was imprisoned by Vichy authorities in 1943. In 1944 he was deported to the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau, where he remained until the camp was liberated in 1945. Charpak became a French citizen in 1946. He received his doctorate in 1955 from the College de France, Paris, where he worked in the laboratory of Frederic Joliot-Curie. In 1959 he joined the staff of CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Geneva and in 1984 also became Joliot-Curie professor at the School of Advanced Studies in Physics and Chemistry, Paris. He was made a member of the French Academy of Science in 1985. Charpak built the first multiwire proportional chamber in 1968. Unlike earlier detectors, such as the bubble chamber, which can record the tracks left by particles at the rate of only one or two per second, the multiwire chamber records up to one million tracks per second and sends the data directly to a computer for analysis. The speed and precision of the multiwire chamber and its descendants, the drift chamber and the time projection chamber, revolutionized high-energy physics. Samuel Ting's discovery of the J/psi particle and Carlo Rubbia's discovery of the W and Z particles, which won Nobel Prizes in 1976 and 1984, respectively, involved the use of multiwire chambers; and by the 1990s such detectors were at the heart of almost every experiment in particle physics. Charpak's chamber also has applications in medicine, biology, and industry.

1993 - Joseph H. Taylor

American radio astronomer and physicist who, with Russell A. Hulse, was the corecipient of the 1993 Nobel Prize for Physics for their joint discovery of the first binary pulsar. Taylor studied at Haverford College, Pa. (B.A., 1963), and earned a Ph.D. in astronomy at Harvard University in 1968. He taught at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, from 1969 to 1981 and then joined the faculty at Princeton University, where he became the James S. McDonnell professor of physics in 1986. Taylor and Hulse conducted their prizewinning research on pulsars while Taylor was a professor at Amherst and Hulse was his graduate student. In 1974, using the large radio telescope at Arecibo, Puerto Rico, they discovered a pulsar (a rapidly spinning neutron star) emitting radio pulses at intervals that varied in a regular pattern, decreasing and increasing over an eight-hour period. They concluded from these signals that the pulsar must be alternately moving toward and away from the Earth--i.e., that it must be orbiting around a companion star, which the two men deduced was also a neutron star. Their discovery of the first binary pulsar, PSR 1913 + 16, provided an unprecedented test of Albert Einstein's theory of gravitation, which, according to the general theory of relativity, predicts that objects accelerated in a strong gravitational field will emit radiation in the form of gravitational waves. With its enormous interacting gravitational fields, the binary pulsar should emit such waves, and the resulting energy drain should reduce the orbital distance between the two stars. This could in turn be measured by a slight, gradual reduction in the timing of the pulsar's distinctive radio emissions. Taylor and Hulse timed PSR 1913 + 16's pulses over the next few years and showed that the two stars are indeed rotating ever faster around each other in an increasingly tight orbit, with an annual decrease of about 75 millionths of a second in their eight-hour orbital period. The rate at which the two stars are spiraling closer together was found to agree with the prediction of the theory of general relativity to an accuracy of better than 0.5 percent. This finding, reported in 1978, provided the first experimental evidence for the existence of gravitational waves and gave powerful support to Einstein's theory of gravity. In the following years, Taylor continued making careful measurements of the orbital period of PSR 1913 + 16, and his research group went on to discover several other binary pulsars.

1994 - Clifford Glenwood Shull

American physicist who was awarded part of the 1994 Nobel Prize for Physics for his development of neutron-scattering techniques--in particular, neutron diffraction, a process that enabled scientists to better explore the atomic structure of matter. He shared the prize with Canadian physicist Bertram N. Brockhouse, who conducted separate but concurrent work in the field. Shull graduated from the Carnegie Institute of Technology (B.S., 1937) and from New York University (Ph.D., 1941) and began a career as a research physicist. His award-winning work was completed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratories in Tennessee from 1946 to 1955, under the leadership of Ernest O. Wollan, the pioneer of neutron-scattering research. In the technique of neutron diffraction, a beam of single-wavelength neutrons is passed through the material under study. Neutrons hitting atoms of the target material are scattered into a pattern that, when recorded on photographic film, yields information about the relative positions of atoms in the material. Shull was also one of the first to demonstrate magnetic diffraction, and he helped to develop instrumentation for the routine crystallographic analysis of neutrons. From 1955 until his retirement in 1986 he was a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

1994 - Bertram N. Brockhouse

Canadian physicist who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1994 with American physicist Clifford G. Shull for their separate but concurrent development of neutron-scattering techniques. In such techniques, a beam of neutrons is aimed at a target material, and the resultant scattering of the neutrons yields information about that material's atomic structure. Brockhouse developed a variant technique known as inelastic neutron scattering, in which the relative energies of the scattered neutrons are measured to yield additional data. Brockhouse was educated at the University of British Columbia (B.A., 1947) and at the University of Toronto (M.A., 1948; Ph.D., 1950). He conducted his award-winning work from 1950 to 1962 at the Chalk River Nuclear Laboratory, a facility operated by Atomic Energy of Canada. Brockhouse used inelastic neutron scattering in his pioneering examination of phonons, which are units of the lattice vibrational energy expended by the scattered neutrons. He also developed the neutron spectrometer and was one of the first to measure the phonon dispersion curve of a solid. Brockhouse was a professor at McMaster University (Hamilton, Ont.) from 1962 until his retirement in 1984.

1995 - Frederick Reines

American physicist who was awarded the 1995 Nobel Prize for Physics for his discovery 40 years earlier, together with his colleague Clyde L. Cowan, Jr., of the subatomic particle called the neutrino, a tiny lepton with little or no mass and a neutral charge. Reines shared the Nobel Prize with physicist Martin Lewis Perl, who also discovered a fundamental particle, the tau. Reines was educated at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, N.J. (B.S., 1939; M.A., 1941), and at New York University (Ph.D., 1944). From 1944 to 1959 he conducted research in particle physics and nuclear weaponry at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico; in 1951 he oversaw experiments designed for the testing of nuclear weapons in the Marshall Islands. After his discovery of the neutrino, Reines joined the faculty of Case Institute of Technology (later Case Western Reserve University) in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1959. He was a professor at the University of California at Irvine from 1966 until his retirement in 1988. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1980. The neutrino was first postulated in the 1930s by Wolfgang Pauli and later named by Enrico Fermi, but because of its minuscule size, it eluded detection for many years. In the early 1950s Reines and Cowan set out to detect the particle, first at the Hanford Engineer Works in Richland, Wash., and then at the Savannah River laboratories in South Carolina. In their experiment a nuclear reactor emitted neutrinos into a 400-litre (105-gallon) preparation of water and cadmium chloride. When a neutrino collided with a hydrogen nucleus (i.e., a proton), the interaction created a positron and a neutron. The positron was slowed by the liquid solution and destroyed by an electron, creating photons that were recorded by scintillation detectors. The neutron was likewise slowed and destroyed by a cadmium nucleus, creating photons that were recorded microseconds after the first set of photons. The separate recordings of the two impacts, therefore, gave proof of the existence of the neutrino. Reines subsequently built other neutrino detectors underground and helped pioneer the field of neutrino astronomy.

1995 - Martin L. Perl

American physicist who received the 1995 Nobel Prize for Physics for discovering a subatomic particle that he named the tau, a massive lepton with a negative charge. The tau, which he found in the mid-1970s, was the first evidence of a third "generation" of fundamental particles, the existence of which proved essential for completing the so-called standard model of particle physics. Perl was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize with physicist Frederick Reines, who discovered another subatomic particle, the neutrino, in the 1950s. In 1948 Perl graduated from the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute with a degree in chemical engineering. After working as a chemical engineer for two years, he studied nuclear physics at Columbia University (Ph.D., 1955). He was an instructor and associate professor at the University of Michigan (1955-63) before joining the faculty of Stanford University in 1963. In 1966 Perl was part of a research team that made an unsuccessful attempt to discover new charged leptons by colliding electrons at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). A new particle accelerator that began operation at SLAC in the early 1970s had the capacity to reach high energy levels that were previously inaccessible. With this new machine, Perl recorded frontal collisions between electrons and their antiparticles, positrons. In a series of experiments conducted between 1974 and 1977, he found that the collisions formed heavy leptons, later called tau particles, that decay in less than a trillionth of a second into neutrinos and either an electron or a muon. He also discovered the antitau, which decays into neutrinos and either a positron or an antimuon.

1996 - Douglas Dean Osheroff

American physicist who, along with David Lee and Robert Richardson, was the corecipient of the 1996 Nobel Prize for Physics for their discovery of superfluidity in the isotope helium-3 . Osheroff received a bachelor's degree (1967) from the California Institute of Technology and a doctorate (1973) from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. He was a graduate student working with Lee and Richardson in the low-temperature laboratory at Cornell when the team made its discovery in 1972. The team was investigating the properties of helium-3 under temperatures of just a few thousandths of a degree above absolute zero (-273 C). Osheroff noticed minute jumps in the internal pressure of the sample of helium-3 under investigation, and he drew the team's attention to these small deviations. The researchers eventually concluded that the helium-3 had undergone a phase transition to a superfluid state, in which a liquid's atoms lose their randomness and move about in a coordinated manner. Such a substance lacks all internal friction, flows without resistance, and behaves according to quantum mechanical laws rather than to those of classical fluid mechanics. The discovery of superfluidity in helium-3 enabled scientists to study directly in macroscopic--or visible--systems the quantum mechanical effects that had previously been studied only indirectly in molecules, atoms, and subatomic particles.

1996 - David Morris Lee

American physicist who, with Robert C. Richardson and Douglas D. Osheroff, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1996 for their joint discovery of superfluidity in the isotope helium-3. Lee received a bachelor's degree from Harvard University in 1952 and a Ph.D. in physics from Yale University in 1959. He joined the faculty of Cornell University (Ithaca, N.Y.) in 1959, becoming a full professor there in 1968. Lee and Richardson built a special cooling apparatus for their research in the low-temperature laboratory at Cornell. They discovered superfluidity in helium-3 by accident in 1972. They had cooled that compound to within a few thousandths of a degree above absolute zero (-273 C) when Osheroff, a graduate student working with them, noticed odd changes in the sample's internal pressure. The team eventually determined that these deviations marked helium-3's phase transition to superfluidity. Because the atoms in superfluid helium-3 move in a coordinated manner, that substance lacks all internal friction and flows without resistance. Helium-3 in this state behaves according to quantum mechanical laws. The discovery of superfluidity in helium-3 enabled scientists to study directly in macroscopic (visible) systems the strange quantum mechanical effects that previously could only be studied indirectly in molecules, atoms, and subatomic particles.

1997 - Steven Chu

American physicist who was awarded the 1997 Nobel Prize for Physics for their independent, pioneering research in cooling and trapping atoms using laser light. Chu graduated from the University of Rochester, N.Y., in 1970 with a B.S. in physics and an A.B. in math. He received his doctorate in physics in 1976 from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a postdoctoral fellow from 1976 to 1978. He joined the staff at Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, N.J., in 1978 and became the head of the quantum electronics research department at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Holmdel, N.J., in 1983. He joined the faculty of Stanford University in 1987. In 1985 Chu and his coworkers used an array of intersecting laser beams to create an effect they called "optical molasses," in which the speed of target atoms was reduced from about 4,000 kilometres per hour to about one kilometre per hour, as if the atoms were moving through thick molasses. The temperature of the slowed atoms approached absolute zero (-273.15 C, or -459.67 F). Chu and his colleagues also developed an atomic trap using lasers and magnetic coils that enabled them to capture and study the chilled atoms. Phillips and Cohen-Tannoudji expanded on Chu's work, devising ways to use lasers to trap atoms at temperatures even closer to absolute zero. These techniques make it possible for scientists to improve the accuracy of atomic clocks used in space navigation, to construct atomic interferometers that can precisely measure gravitational forces, and to design atomic lasers that can be used to manipulate electronic circuits at an extremely fine scale.

1997 - Claude Cohen-Tannoudji

French physicist who shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1997 with Steven Chu and William D. Phillips. They received the award for their development of techniques that use laser light to cool atoms to extremely low temperatures. At such temperatures the atoms move slowly enough to be examined in detail. Cohen-Tannoudji was educated at the École Normale Supérieure (ENS), Paris, receiving his doctorate in 1962. After graduating he continued to work as a research scientist in the department of physics at ENS, while also teaching at the University of Paris VI from 1964 to 1973 and at the College of France from 1973. Cohen-Tannoudji and his colleagues at ENS expanded on the work of Chu and Phillips, successfully explaining a seeming discrepancy in theory and devising new mechanisms for cooling and trapping atoms with laser light. In 1995 they cooled helium atoms to within eighteen-millionths of a degree above absolute zero (-273.15 C, or -459.67 F), with a corresponding speed of about two centimetres per second. Their work, and that of Chu and Phillips, furthered scientists' understanding of how light and matter interact. Among other practical applications, the techniques they developed can be used to construct atomic clocks and other instruments capable of an extremely high degree of precision.

1997 - William D. Phillips

American physicist whose experiments using laser light to cool and trap atoms earned him the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1997. He shared the award with Steven Chu and Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, who also developed methods of laser cooling and atom trapping. Phillips received his doctorate in physics (1976) and completed his postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1978 he joined the staff of the National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Standards and Technology) in Gaithersburg, Md., and it was there that he conducted his award-winning research. Building on Chu's work, Phillips developed new and improved methods for measuring the temperature of laser-cooled atoms. In 1988 he discovered that the atoms reached a temperature six times lower than the predicted theoretical limit. Cohen-Tannoudji refined the theory to explain the new results, and he and Phillips further investigated methods of trapping atoms cooled to even lower temperatures. One result of the development of laser-cooling techniques was the first observation, in 1995, of the Bose-Einstein condensate, a new state of matter originally predicted 70 years earlier by Albert Einstein and the Indian physicist Satyendra Nath Bose. In this state atoms are so chilled and so slow that they, in effect, merge and behave as one single quantum entity that is much larger than any individual atom.



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