William Daniel Phillips Biography
Birthday: November 5, 1948 (Scorpio)
Born In: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, United States
William Daniel Phillips is an American physicist who won a share of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997. An expert in the field of laser cooling, he has also developed methods of atom trapping. Born in Pennsylvania to parents who valued education and reading, he was encouraged from a young age to pursue his scientific interests. While neither of his parents—who were both social workers—had any specific interest in science, they recognized their son’s love for the subject and supported his endeavors. He even had a laboratory in the basement of his home where he performed experiments including potentially dangerous ones. He graduated from Juniata College summa cum laude and proceeded to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for his doctorate. He earned his PhD with a thesis focusing on the magnetic moment of the proton in H2O. He then joined the staff of the National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Standards and Technology) where he began the research that would ultimately lead him to the Nobel Prize. He built upon the works of Steven Chu to develop new and improved methods for measuring the temperature of laser-cooled atoms, and collaborated with Claude Cohen-Tannoudji for more advanced work in the same field.