Norman F. Ramsey


Norman Ramsey was awarded half of the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physics “for the invention of the separated oscillatory fields method and its use in the hydrogen maser and other atomic clocks.” The other half of the Nobel prize was shared jointly by Hans G. Dehmelt and Wolfgang Paul "for the development of the ion trap technique.” When Norman Ramsey began college he started as an engineer, but then switched to mathematics. After earning his BS in mathematics he went back to school to obtain a BS in physics. He then attended graduate school in physics and began working with Rabi on his recent success with molecular beam magnetic resonance. He shared in the discovery of the quadrupole moment for deuteron. Later, when starting up his own lab, he couldn’t get the magnetic fields he wanted so he invented a method of oscillatory fields to obtain desired magnetic fields. With this method he measured molecular and nuclear properties such as interactions involving spins and magnetic moments. He invented with Kleppner the hydrogen maser to make measurements about the structure of the atomic energy levels.