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Press Release  
Release Date: Monday, June 11, 2012 1:53 PM
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By Brielle Williams      
Physics Nobel Laureate Eric Cornell Speaks at Howard
Eric A. Cornell, Ph.D.
Eric A. Cornell, Ph.D.

The Department of Physics and Astronomy presented the annual Nobel Laureate 2012 Colloquium featuring Physics Nobel Laureate Eric A. Cornell, Ph.D.  The Colloquium was a unique opportunity for students and faculty to interact with Cornell, the 2011-12 Distinguished Traveling Lecturer of the Division of Laser Science of the American Physical Society, and learn first-hand about his research accomplishments. Affectionately known as a “physics rock star,” Cornell’s visit was defined by his personable approach to science, teaching and interaction with students.

When asked about winning the Physics Nobel Prize in 2001, Cornell was candid. “It changed my life,” he said. “After winning, I was amazed at how many people were familiar with my work in physics.”

Day one of the colloquium featured two insightful lectures by Cornell, “Why is Warm Glass Stickier than Cold Glass?” and “Stone Cold Science: Bose Einstein Condensation and the Weird World of Physics a Millionth of a Degree Above Absolute Zero.”

Day two started with a brisk morning jog at Greene stadium, which according to Cornell, is one of his favorite ways to interact with students. After the jog, Cornell was the guest of honor at the grand opening of the new Undergraduate Physics Lounge, hosted by the Howard Chapter of the Society of Physics Students. The day also included graduate research presentations with feedback from Cornell.  

“The Nobel Laureate series inspires our students in their research and gives them a new level of appreciation for how a Laureate exercises creativity in his or her research,” said Dr. Prabhakar Misra, Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The Nobel Laureate Colloquium series has hosted four Physics Nobel Laureate visits at Howard since 2009, including 2006 Laureate John Mather, 1997 Laureate William Phillips, 1996 Laureate Douglas Osheroff, and now Cornell.

Cornell has studied at Stanford University and MIT, and is currently a fellow of the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics (JILA) and an adjunct professor in the Physics Department of the University of Colorado. He conducted doctoral research at MIT on precision mass spectroscopy of single trapped molecular ions. Since 1992, Cornell has been a senior scientist with the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Currently, he is working on using precision molecular spectroscopy to explore possible extensions to the Standard Model of particle physics. Eric Cornell shared the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physics with Carl Wieman and Wolfgang Ketterle.

The event was sponsored by the Department of Physics and Astronomy, the Division of Laser Science of the American Physical Society, the Office of the Provost, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Students and faculty join Cornell for morning jog at Greene stadium.


Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, two Truman Scholars, a Marshall Scholar, 30 Fulbright Scholars and 11 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the University's Web site at

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