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Department of Physics

Professor Steven Chu Wins Nobel Prize in Physics

For the third year in a row, the Stanford physics community has been honored by a Nobel Prize in Physics. Last year's co-recipient of the Nobel Prize was Professor Douglas Osheroff, and the year before, the Prize was awarded to Professor Martin Perl of SLAC. The 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics is shared by Steven Chu, the Theodore and Frances Geballe Professor of Physics and Applied Physics of Stanford University, Professor Claude Cohen-Tannoudji of the College de France, and Dr. William D. Phillips of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Their work in the field of laser cooling and trapping has meant a breakthrough for both theory and experiment within the field and has led to deeper understanding of the interaction between light and matter. It has also led to intense world-wide activity within the atomic, molecular and optical physics community and has opened up new roads toward the study of the quantum behavior of dilute atomic vapors at very low temperatures. The techniques of laser cooling and trapping are used in fundamental high resolution spectroscopy and the study of ultracold collisions. They also find application in the construction of atomic clocks, atomic interferometers and atom lasers, and the development of instruments for atom optics and atomic lithography. Recent applications are the first observation of Bose-Einstein condensation in a dilute atomic gas and the development of the first rudimentary atom laser. Our congratulations to Steve Chu on this remarkable achievement.

More on this subject can be found in the Stanford News Services article. The complete list of Physics Nobel Prize Winners from Stanford is currently:

  • Steven Chu, 1997
  • Douglas Osheroff, 1996
  • Martin Perl, 1995
  • Richard Taylor, 1990
  • Arthur Schawlow, 1981
  • Burton Richter, 1976
  • Robert Hofstadter, 1961
  • Felix Bloch, 1952

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