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Wolfgang Ketterle

Born: 21-Oct-1957
Birthplace: Heidelberg, Germany

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Physicist

Nationality: Germany
Executive summary: Bose-Einstein condensates

In 1995, German physicist Wolfgang Ketterle created a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) with sodium atoms. BECs are a previously unknown ultracold state of matter, occurring only at temperatures approaching absolute zero or when their common de Broglie wavelengths exceed the interparticle distances, causing all the particles to have overlapping quantum states and become attractively interactive. Ketterle shared the 2001 Nobel Prize for Physics with Eric A. Cornell and Carl E. Wieman, who conducted similar work independently and concurrently. Ketterle, who was only 44 years old when he won the highest honor in science, has used BECs to study compressibility and ultracold phenomena, and has also studied atom cooling and trapping, combustion diagnostics with lasers, spectroscopy of helium hydride and triatomic hydrogen, and spin relaxation in disordered systems.

Brother: Günter (b. 1956)
Sister: Monika (b. 1961)
Wife: Gabriele Sauer (high school sweetheart, m. 1986, div., two sons, one daughter)
Son: Jonas (b. 1986)
Daughter: Johanna (b. 1988)
Son: Holger (b. 1992)

    University: University of Heidelberg (transferred)
    University: MS equiv. Physics, Technical University of Munich (1982)
    University: PhD Physics, University of Munich (1986)
    Scholar: Physics, Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, Garching, Germany (1982-88)
    Scholar: Mmolecular Spectroscopy, University of Heidelberg (1989-90)
    Scholar: Atom Cooling and Trapping, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1990-93)
    Teacher: Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1993-97)
    Professor: Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1997-98)
    Professor: John D. MacArthur Professor of Physics, MIT (1998-)

    APS I.I. Rabi Prize in Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics 1997
    GPS Gustav-Hertz Prize 1997
    Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics 1999
    Fritz London Memorial Prize 1999
    Benjamin Franklin Medal 2000 (Franklin Institute)
    Nobel Prize for Physics 2001 (with Eric A. Cornell and Carl E. Wieman)
    French Legion of Honor Officer, 2002
    Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany Knight Commander's Cross, 2002
    MIT Killian Award 2004
    Volkswagen Internship (1980)
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences 1999
    American Physical Society Foreign Member, 1997
    Bavarian Academy of Sciences 2003
    European Academy of Arts and Sciences
    Federation of American Scientists Board of Sponsors
    German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
    German Association of University Professors
    German Physical Society
    Institute of Physics Foreign Member
    National Academy of Sciences Foreign Member, 2002
    Optical Society of America Foreign Member, 2006
    Science Debate 2008
    World Technology Network
    Boston Marathon 2014
    German Ancestry Paternal
    Polish Ancestry Maternal

Author of books:
Spectroscopy of Triatomic Hydrogen Molecule and the Heliumhydrid (1986)

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