William D. Phillips: Quantum optics, laser cooling, and the joy of science outreach

In his lab, Nobel Prize winner Bill Phillips talks about slowing down atoms, the joy of science and how he shares it with the public.

04 October 2016

William D. Phillips is a Distinguished University and College Park Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland, College Park. He received his BS (1970) from Juanita College and his PhD (1976) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

After two years as a Chaim Weizmann postdoctoral fellow at MIT, he joined the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 1978. He is currently the leader of the Laser Cooling and Trapping Group of the Physical Measurement Laboratory at NIST in Gaithersburg, Maryland. He is a fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), a cooperative research organization 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 a National Science Foundation-funded Physics Frontier Center focusing on quantum phenomena that span different subfields of physics. Phillips's research group studies the physics of ultracold atomic gases.

In addition to numerous awards for his research, in 1997 he was a co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics "for development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light" His co-recipients were Claude Cohen-Tannoudji and Steven Chu.

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