Claude Cohen-Tannoudji Biography
Birthday: April 1, 1933 (Aries)
Born In: Constantine, Algeria
Claude Cohen-Tannoudji is a French physicist who won a share of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics. Known for research in methods of laser cooling and trapping atoms, he collaborated with his colleagues at the École Normale Supérieure (ENS) to build on the works of fellow physicists Steven Chu and William Daniel Phillips which led to new mechanisms for cooling and trapping atoms with laser light. Born in Algeria (which was then part of France) in the early 1930s, he grew up during a period of political turmoil in Europe and the French colonies. Fortunately his family was saved from persecution at the hands of the Nazis due to the timely arrival of the Americans in Algeria in 1942. After completing his high school, he left Algeria for Paris where he was admitted to the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS). There he attended lectures by Henri Cartan, Laurent Schwartz, and Alfred Kastler and was especially influenced by Kastler who taught physics. After spending a stint with the army, he returned to Kastler’s laboratory for doctoral research. He embarked on an academic career after completing his PhD and started teaching at the University of Paris while continuing to work as a research scientist in the department of physics at ENS. It was over the course of his research there that he successfully expanded on the work of Chu and Phillips leading to their Nobel Prize winning discoveries.