William D. Phillips

William D. Phillips is a Nobel laureate in Physics. He was born in 1948 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and received a B.S. in physics from Juniata College in 1970 and a Ph.D. from MIT in 1976. After two years as a Chaim Weizmann postdoctoral fellow at MIT, he joined the staff of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST; then the National Bureau of Standards) in 1978. He is currently the leader of the Laser Cooling and Trapping Group of NIST’s Physical Measurement Laboratory, and a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland. He is a Fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), a cooperative research venture of NIST and the University of Maryland that is devoted to the study of quantum coherent phenomena. At the JQI he is the co-director of an NSF-funded Physics Frontier Center focusing on quantum phenomena that span different subfields of physics.The research group led by Phillips developed some of the main techniques used for laser-cooling and cold-atom experiments in laboratories around the world. Today the group pursues research on a variety of topics related to ultracold atomic gases. Phillips is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a Fellow and honorary member of the Optical Society of America and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. In 1997, he shared the Nobel Prize in Physics “for development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light.”


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