Eric Cornell


Eric Cornell, an atomic physicist, shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2001 with Wolfgang Ketterle and Carl Wieman "for the achievement of Bose-Einstein condensation in dilute gases of alkali atoms, and for early fundamental studies of the properties of the condensates." Eric Cornell, along with his shared Nobel prize winners, was one of the first to create a Bose Einstein Condensate (BEC). He began working in laser cooling and then devised a way to combine laser cooling and evaporative cooling to create a BEC. A BEC is a super cold, not dense gas in which the particles all occupy the same quantum state. This allows one to observe quantum behavior on the macroscopic scale in a gas. Other systems that show the occupation of a quantum state on a macroscopic level include superfluidity observed in liquid helium, superconductivity observed in solids, and lasers (pure energy).