NIST scientist is Nobel man

NIST scientist is Nobel man

Eric A. Cornell, a National Institute of Standards and Technology senior scientist, shared in the 2001 Nobel Prize in physics awarded this month for research into an exotic state of matter.

Cornell, who works at NIST's Physics Laboratory in Boulder, Colo., shared the prize with University of Colorado professor Carl E. Wieman and Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Wolfgang Ketterle.

The three were honored for their research into Bose-Einstein condensation, an effect that occurs only when atoms are cooled to a few billionths of a degree above absolute zero [GCN, Aug. 27, Page 1].

Although physicists S.N. Bose and Albert Einstein predicted the effect in 1924, no one could demonstrate it in the lab until Cornell's and Wieman's first successful experiment in 1995.

Ketterle used the Colorado pair's techniques to create an atom laser that drips single atoms. Scientists have predicted that such lasers could someday make ultrasmall computer chips.

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