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Douglas D. Osheroff

Douglas D. OsheroffAKA Douglas Dean Osheroff

Born: 1-Aug-1945
Birthplace: Aberdeen, WA

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

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

As a boy, Douglas D. Osheroff preferred dismantling and reassembling his toys over traditional play. In separate accidents in his basement laboratory, young Osheroff blew a hole in the wall when his homemade rifle misfired, and nearly blinded himself when his self-designed lamp exploded. His father was a doctor, his mother a nurse, and during his high school years he constructed a working x-ray from spare parts taken from old machinery junked from their workplaces.

In college he studied under Richard Feynman and Gerry Neugebauer. He later worked for fifteen years at Bell Laboratories, and taught for decades at Stanford, but his principle contribution to science came while he was still a graduate student at Cornell, in 1972. David M. Lee and Robert C. Richardson had constructed a new apparatus for supercooling substances in Cornell's low-temperature physics laboratory when Osheroff, in analyzing the transition of frozen helium-3 to a magnetic state, found that each time samples of helium-3 were chilled to a temperature of 2.7millikelvins, the internal pressure of the helium sample deviated. Detailed analysis showed that the samples were attaining the state of superfluidity a complete lack of viscosity, allowing transfer of mass without transfer of energy. In brief, superfluids behave according to the laws of quantum mechanics, instead of the classical laws that ordinarily govern liquids.

Osheroff, Lee, and Richardson shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1996, and Osheroff continues to teach and study quantum fluids and solids and glasses at ultra-low temperatures. He has also investigated adiabatic nuclear demagnetization, the dielectric and thermal properties of glasses, and kinetic theory.

Father: William Osheroff (physician)
Mother: Bessie Anne Ondov Osheroff (nurse)
Wife: Phyllis Liu-Osheroff (biochemist, m. 14-Aug-1970)

    High School: Aberdeen High School, Aberdeen, WA (1963)
    University: BS Physics, California Institute of Technology (1967)
    University: PhD Physics, Cornell University (1973)
    Professor: Physics and Applied Physics, Stanford University (1987-)

    IOP Sir Francis Simon Memorial Award 1976 (with D. Lee and R. Richardson)
    APS Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize 1981 (with D. Lee and R. Richardson)
    MacArthur Fellowship 1981
    Nobel Prize for Physics 1996 (with David M. Lee and Robert C. Richardson)
    Bell Laboratories Solid State and Low Temperature Research (1972-87)
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    American Physical Society
    Federation of American Scientists Board of Sponsors
    National Academy of Sciences
    Scientists and Engineers for America
    Bill Bradley for President
    Democratic National Committee
    Hillary Clinton for President
    Hillary Rodham Clinton for US Senate Committee
    Kerry Victory 2004
    Obama for America
    Jewish Ancestry Paternal
    Slovak Ancestry Maternal
    Russian Ancestry Paternal

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