Daniel Kleppner Wins 2017 APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research

COLLEGE PARK, MD, September 21, 2016 – Daniel Kleppner, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will be awarded the 2017 American Physical Society’s Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research. The medal recognizes contributions of the highest level that advance our knowledge and understanding of the physical universe in all its facets, and is presented along with a $50,000 prize.

The 2017 medal citation recognizes Kleppner for "seminal research setting the direction for modern atomic, molecular, and optical physics, including precision measurements with hydrogen masers, the physics of Rydberg atoms and their quantum chaotic behavior in high fields, cavity quantum electrodynamics, and the production of quantum degenerate atomic gases."

"Dan’s career has spanned more than half a century," said Laura Greene, chair of the 2017 APS Medal selection committee, "and in that time he’s made numerous groundbreaking advances that have provided the foundations for entire subfields in physics. The impact of his lifelong work is so broad and so deep that it’s difficult to even summarize the scope of his continuing influence on modern science. I’m proud to have been able to serve on the committee that had the privilege to nominate him for the 2017 APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research."

Kleppner pursued graduate research in physics under the supervision of Norman F. Ramsey at Harvard University and received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1959. He joined with Ramsey in the creation of the hydrogen maser, which was cited in Ramsey’s 1989 Nobel Prize. Kleppner’s current research interests include precision measurements, fundamental constants and experimental studies with Rydberg atoms including cavity quantum electrodynamics and quantum chaos. With his colleague Thomas J. Greytak, he helped to pioneer the field of Bose-Einstein condensation and quantum gases. They succeeded in demonstrating Bose-Einstein condensation in atomic hydrogen in 1998. Kleppner is also a founder of the MIT-Harvard Center for Ultracold Atoms.

"I am delighted that Dan Kleppner is being recognized for his exceptional contributions to, and leadership of, forefront research in AMO Physics," said APS Chief Executive Officer Kate Kirby. "In addition, Dan has played an important role in the education of many students and postdocs, and has selflessly served the physics community, including, most fortunately for us, the APS."

The APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research is the largest Society award eligible to physicists without regard to discipline. The medal is funded by a generous endowment from entrepreneur Jay Jones.

Contact: James Riordon, APS, riordon@aps.org, (301) 209-3238


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The American Physical Society is a non-profit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy, and international activities. APS represents over 53,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories, and industry in the United States and throughout the world. Society offices are located in College Park, MD (Headquarters), Ridge, NY, and Washington, D.C.