Eric Cornell

Eric Cornell

American physicist, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2001.
Date of Birth: 19.12.1961
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Eric Cornell
  2. Early Life and Education
  3. Career
  4. Personal Life
  5. Awards and Achievements

Biography of Eric Cornell

Eric Allin Cornell, an American physicist, was born on December 19, 1961, in Palo Alto, USA. He is known as a laureate of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2001, which he received jointly with Wolfgang Ketterle and Carl Wieman for their achievements in the study of Bose-Einstein condensation in dilute gases and for their fundamental research on the characteristics of condensates.

Early Life and Education

Eric Cornell was born into a family of a professor of civil engineering at MIT and an English teacher. He studied physics at Stanford University and after obtaining his degree from MIT in 1985, he worked in Cambridge, where he had lived since he was two years old. He worked in Dave Pritchard's group on the determination of the mass of helium-3 and tritium. In 1990, he defended his dissertation. Interestingly, after Cornell left MIT, Wolfgang Ketterle joined Pritchard's group, with whom Cornell later shared the Nobel Prize.


Cornell applied for a postdoctoral position in Dave Wineland's group at NIST but did not receive approval. Instead, he was recommended to join Carl Wieman's group, who was working at NIST in Boulder, Colorado. After completing a two-year postdoctoral fellowship, he remained there as an assistant professor. In 1995, he became a professor and has been a member of NIST since 1994.

Personal Life

In 1995, Cornell married Celeste Landry, whom he had known for over 10 years since their time at Stanford. They have two daughters, Eliza and Sofia. In 2004, his left hand was amputated due to necrotizing fasciitis, but he resumed his work in 2006.

Awards and Achievements

Throughout his career, Eric Cornell has received numerous awards and honors for his contributions to physics. Some of the notable awards include the Samuel Wesley Stratton Award from NIST in 1995, the Newcomb Cleveland Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1995-1996, the Gold Medal from the Department of Commerce in 1996, and the Fritz London Prize in Low Temperature Physics in 1996. He was also a recipient of the Alan T. Waterman Award from the National Science Foundation in 1997, the Rabi Prize in Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics from the American Physical Society in 1997, and the Franklin Medal in Physics in 1999. In 2001, he was honored with the Nobel Prize in Physics for his groundbreaking work on Bose-Einstein condensation.

Eric Cornell is a member of several prestigious organizations, including the American Physical Society, the American Optical Society, and the National Academy of Sciences in the USA. His contributions to the field of physics have solidified his place as one of the most influential scientists of his time.