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David M. Lee

David M. LeeAKA David Morris Lee

Born: 20-Jan-1931
Birthplace: Rye, NY

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

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Superfluidity of helium-3

Military service: US Army (1952-54, stateside)

American physicist David M. Lee discovered, with Douglas D. Osheroff and Robert C. Richardson in 1972, that helium-3 (He-3, a light, rare, non-radioactive isotope of helium comprised of two protons and one neutron) becomes a superfluid when it is cooled to near absolute zero. Superfluids have a complete absence of viscosity, and behave very differently than ordinary liquids. If circulated in a closed loop, for example, a superfluid could theoretically flow forever, with no friction. The work of Lee, Osheroff, and Richardson radically altered the scientific understanding of how matter behaves at sub-macroscopic scales, and these three scientists shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1996. Lee has also studied magnetic resonance, spin polarized hydrogen gas, superconductivity, ultra-low temperature cryogenics, and atomic hydrogen and nitrogen stabilized by matrix isolation in helium-impurity clusters.

Father: Marvin Lee (electrical engineer)
Mother: Annette Franks Lee (teacher)
Wife: Dana (two sons)
Son: Eric Lee (attorney)

    High School: Rye High School, Rye, NY (1948)
    University: BS Physics, Harvard University (1952)
    University: MS Physics, University of Connecticut (1955)
    University: PhD Physics, Yale University (1959)
    Teacher: Physics, Cornell University (1959-69)
    Scholar: Visiting Scientist, Brookhaven National Laboratory (1966-67)
    Professor: Physics, Cornell University (1969-99)
    Professor: James G. White Dist. Prof. of the Physical Sciences, Cornell University (1999-2009)
    Professor: Texas A&M University (2009-)

    Guggenheim Fellowship 1966-67
    Guggenheim Fellowship 1974-75
    IOP Sir Francis Simon Memorial Award 1976 (with D. Osheroff and R. Richardson)
    Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Fellowship, 1977
    APS Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize 1981 (with D. Osheroff and R. Richardson)
    Nobel Prize for Physics 1996 (with Douglas D. Osheroff and Robert C. Richardson)
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences 1990
    American Association for the Advancement of Science 1982
    American Physical Society 1982
    National Academy of Sciences 1991
    Optical Society of America 1982
    Russian Academy of Sciences Foreign Member, 1993
    US Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    English Ancestry
    Jewish Ancestry
    Lithuanian Ancestry
    Obama for America

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