Physics lecturer David Wineland has received the 2012 Nobel Prize in physics, the fifth CU faculty member to win the prestigious award.
Wineland shares the honor with French physicist Serge Haroche. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a laboratory Wineland has worked with as a physicist for 37 years, the Nobel committee praised him for “ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems.”
Physics Professor David Wineland in his lab at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder. Professor Wineland was awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize for his “ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems. (Courtesy of The University of Colorado)
Wineland is renowned for his achievements in quantum physics. According to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which determines the Nobel Prize winners, Wineland’s developments in the study of individual particles sheds light on an area of physics that had been largely unknown. Along with Haroche, he has “managed to measure and control very fragile quantum states, which were previously thought unaccessible for direct observation.”
A Wisconsin native, Wineland grew up in California. He attended the University of California at Berkeley, where he received a bachelor of arts in physics, and then went on to Harvard University, where he received a master’s and a doctoral degree in physics.
According to a CU news release, his research made it possible for previous 2001 Nobel Prize physics winners Carl Wieman and Eric Cornell, both CU faculty members, to create the world’s first BOSE Einstein condensate.
Besides being a lecturer, Wineland has also served as a mentor for many graduate students.
“It would be difficult to find a more brilliant and humble scientist,” said John Jost in a news release. Jost worked with Wineland for about 10 years as a CU doctoral student and postdoctoral researcher.
“I feel lucky to have worked in his lab for my Ph.D. regardless of whether or not he won the Nobel Prize,” Jost said. “He was always available when we had questions and problems in the lab and usually had some great idea about what to try next. At the same time, he gave us the freedom to figure things out on our own.”
Many faculty and university administration members are also proud of Wineland’s accomplishments.
“The department of physics is thrilled about David’s Nobel Prize,” said Paul Beale, chair of the CU Department of Physics, in the news release. “His research using trapped ions to study quantum entanglement, now recognized for the groundbreaking work it is by a Nobel Prize, acknowledges his great successes. David is an important member of our graduate faculty who has been both a key graduate adviser for our students and a strong member of our graduate student recruiting team.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Alexandria Aguerre at Alexandria.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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