Eric Cornell, 2001 Nobel Prize in Physics
Eric Cornell grew up in a family that fostered educational and learning experiences from a young age. His parents, both Stanford graduates, encouraged him to engage in problem solving and to be a voracious reader. During his earlier years, Cornell was active in math and chess club, building rockets, and he also went through a brief phase of being interested in computers.
After graduating from high school, Cornell followed in his parents’ footsteps by enrolling at Stanford. During his time at Stanford, Cornell worked under Blas Cabrera, John Turneaure, and Francis Everett. In 1985, he began graduate school at Cambridge and joined the single-ion cyclotron resonance experiment under Dave Pritchard.
Eric Cornell moved to Boulder, Colorado in 1991 to work for Carl Wieman at the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics (JILA). In 1995, the two of them synthesized the first Bose-Einstein condensate. The two of them would later receive the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2001 for this work. This prize was also shared with Wolfgang Ketterle, a German physicist from MIT.
During his lifetime, Eric Cornell has won many awards and honors, including: the NSF Graduate Fellowship from 1985 to 1988, the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (1996), the NSF Alan T. Waterman Award (1997), the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics (1999), and he was elected as a Fellow to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2005.