William Daniel Phillips

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William Daniel Phillips

William D. Phillips.jpg

Phillips at the 2012 Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting
Born (1948-11-05) November 5, 1948 (age 69)
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
Nationality United States
Alma mater MIT
Juniata College
Known for Laser cooling
Awards Nobel Prize in physics (1997)
Scientific career
Fields Physics
Institutions NIST
University of Maryland, College Park
Doctoral advisor Daniel Kleppner

William Daniel Phillips (born November 5, 1948) is an American physicist. He shared the Nobel Prize in Physics, in 1997, with Steven Chu and Claude Cohen-Tannoudji.

Physicist scientist who does research in physics

A physicist is a scientist who specializes in the field of physics, which encompasses the interactions of matter and energy at all length and time scales in the physical universe. Physicists generally are interested in the root or ultimate causes of phenomena, and usually frame their understanding in mathematical terms. Physicists work across a wide range of research fields, spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic and particle physics, through biological physics, to cosmological length scales encompassing the universe as a whole. The field generally includes two types of physicists: experimental physicists who specialize in the observation of physical phenomena and the analysis of experiments, and theoretical physicists who specialize in mathematical modeling of physical systems to rationalize, explain and predict natural phenomena. Physicists can apply their knowledge towards solving practical problems or to developing new technologies.

Nobel Prize in Physics One of the five Nobel Prizes established in 1895 by Alfred Nobel

The Nobel Prize in Physics is a yearly award given by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for those who have made the most outstanding contributions for humankind in the field of physics. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895 and awarded since 1901; the others being the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Nobel Prize in Literature, Nobel Peace Prize, and Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Steven Chu American physicist, former United States Secretary of Energy, Nobel laureate

Steven Chu is an American physicist and a former government official. He is known for his research at Bell Labs and Stanford University regarding the cooling and trapping of atoms with laser light, for which he won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997, along with his scientific colleagues Claude Cohen-Tannoudji and William Daniel Phillips.



Phillips was born to William Cornelius Phillips of Juniata, Pennsylvania and Mary Catherine Savino of Ripacandida, Italy. He is of Italian descent on his mother's side and of Welsh descent on his father's side. [1] His parents moved to Camp Hill (near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) in 1959, where he attended high school and graduated valedictorian of his class. He graduated from Juniata College in 1970 summa cum laude. After that he received his physics doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1978 he joined NIST.

Ripacandida Comune in Basilicata, Italy

Ripacandida is a town and comune in the province of Potenza, in the Southern Italian region of Basilicata. It is bounded by the comuni of Atella, Barile, Filiano, Forenza, Ginestra, Rionero in Vulture.

Italy republic in Southern Europe

Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a European country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Italian Alps and surrounded by several islands. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean sea and traversed along its length by the Apennines, Italy has a largely temperate seasonal climate. The country covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and shares open land borders with France, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland and the enclaved microstates of Vatican City and San Marino. Italy has a territorial exclave in Switzerland (Campione) and a maritime exclave in the Tunisian sea (Lampedusa). With around 60 million inhabitants, Italy is the fourth-most populous member state of the European Union.

Welsh people nation and ethnic group native to Wales

The Welsh are a Celtic nation and ethnic group native to, or otherwise associated with, Wales, Welsh culture, Welsh history and the Welsh language. Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom, and the majority of people living in Wales are British citizens.

In 1996, he received the Albert A. Michelson Medal from The Franklin Institute. [2]

Phillips' doctoral thesis concerned the magnetic moment of the proton in H2O. He later did some work with Bose–Einstein condensates. In 1997 he won the Nobel Prize in Physics together with Claude Cohen-Tannoudji and Steven Chu for his contributions to laser cooling, a technique to slow the movement of gaseous atoms in order to better study them, at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and especially for his invention of the Zeeman slower.

Bose–Einstein condensate state of matter of a dilute gas of bosons cooled to temperatures very near absolute zero

A Bose–Einstein condensate (BEC) is a state of matter of a dilute gas of bosons cooled to temperatures very close to absolute zero (-273.15 °C). Under such conditions, a large fraction of bosons occupy the lowest quantum state, at which point microscopic quantum phenomena, particularly wavefunction interference, become apparent macroscopically. A BEC is formed by cooling a gas of extremely low density, about one-hundred-thousandth(1/100000) the density of normal air, to ultra-low temperatures.

Claude Cohen-Tannoudji French physicist

Claude Cohen-Tannoudji is a French physicist. He shared the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics with Steven Chu and William Daniel Phillips for research in methods of laser cooling and trapping atoms. Currently he is still an active researcher, working at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris.

Laser cooling variety of techniques where atomic samples are cooled via interacting with lasers

Laser cooling refers to a number of techniques in which atomic and molecular samples are cooled down to near absolute zero. Laser cooling techniques rely on the fact that when an object absorbs and re-emits a photon its momentum changes. For an ensemble of particles, their temperature is proportional to the variance in their velocity. That is, more homogeneous velocities among particles corresponds to a lower temperature. Laser cooling techniques combine atomic spectroscopy with the aforementioned mechanical effect of light to compress the velocity distribution of an ensemble of particles, thereby cooling the particles.

Phillips is also a professor of physics, which is part of the University of Maryland College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at University of Maryland, College Park.

The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CMNS) at the University of Maryland, College Park, is home to ten academic departments and a dozen interdisciplinary research centers and institutes. CMNS is one of 13 schools and colleges within the University of Maryland, College Park.

University of Maryland, College Park public research university in the city of College Park in Prince Georges County, Maryland

The University of Maryland, College Park is a public research university in College Park, Maryland. Founded in 1856, UMD is the flagship institution of the University System of Maryland, and is the largest university in both the state and the Washington metropolitan area, with more than 41,000 students representing all fifty states and 123 countries, and a global alumni network of over 360,000. Its twelve schools and colleges together offer over 200 degree-granting programs, including 92 undergraduate majors, 107 master's programs, and 83 doctoral programs. UMD is a member of the Association of American Universities and competes in intercollegiate athletics as a member of the Big Ten Conference.

He was one of the 35 Nobel laureates who signed a letter urging President Obama to provide a stable $15 billion per year support for clean energy research, technology and demonstration. [3]

He is one of three well-known scientists and Methodist laity who have involved themselves in the religion and science dialogue. The other two scientists and fellow Methodists are chemist Charles Coulson and 1981 Nobel laureate Arthur Leonard Schawlow.[ citation needed ]

In Oct 2010 Phillips participated in the USA Science and Engineering Festival's Lunch with a laureate program where middle and high school students got to engage in an informal conversation with a Nobel Prize–winning scientist over a brown-bag lunch. [4] Phillips is also a member of the USA Science and Engineering Festival's Advisory Board. [5]

Personal life

Phillips married Jane Van Wynen shortly before he went to MIT. Neither had been regular churchgoers early in their marriage. However, in 1979, they joined the Fairhaven United Methodist Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland because they appreciated its diversity. He is a founding member of the International Society for Science and Religion. He and his wife have two daughters; Caitlin Phillips (b 1979) who founded Rebound Designs, and Christine Phillips (b 1981) who works in Science Communication.

During a seminar at the UMCP Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry titled Coherent Atoms in Optical Lattices Phillips stated, "Rubidium is God's gift to Bose–Einstein condensates."

Notes and references

  1. "William D. Phillips - Biographical". nobelprize.org. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  2. "Franklin Laureate Database – Albert A. Michelson Medal Laureates". Franklin Institute. Archived from the original on April 6, 2012. Retrieved June 16, 2011.
  3. Open Letter to President Obama. (PDF) . Retrieved on 2012-01-28.
  4. "Lunch with a Laureate". Archived from the original on June 20, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-09.. usasciencefestival.org (2010)
  5. Advisors Archived 2010-04-21 at the Wayback Machine .. Usasciencefestival.org. Retrieved on 2012-01-28.

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