American Physical Society Establishes Norman F. Ramsey Prize

COLLEGE PARK, MD, December 13, 2016 – The American Physical Society (APS) has established the Norman F. Ramsey Prize in Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics, and in Precision Tests of Fundamental Laws and Symmetries to recognize outstanding accomplishment in the two fields in which Norman Ramsey excelled. The prize includes $10,000 and support for the recipient to give a plenary session lecture at the annual APS Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics (DAMOP) meeting.  

Norman Foster Ramsey was awarded the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physics for "the separated oscillatory field method and its use in the hydrogen maser and other atomic clocks." He was also an outstanding teacher and passionate researcher who was widely regarded for his collegiality and fairness.  

"Norman Ramsey was a great scientist, scientific statesman, colleague and human being who many of us seek to emulate," said Gerald Gabrielse, Leverett Professor of Physics at Harvard University and a principal advocate for the establishment of the prize in Ramsey’s name. "Many physicists thus joined his family and friends in giving generously to honor his memory and the best research work of the Precision Measurements and AMO communities, as did our industrial partners TOPTICA, Thorlabs and Menlo Systems."

The Ramsey prize was established with contributions from the family and friends of Norman Ramsey, and was sponsored by optical component manufacturers TOPTICA and Thorlabs, with additional support from Menlo Systems. The Prize is jointly administered by the APS Topical Group on Precision Measurement and Fundamental Constants (GPMFC) and by the DAMOP.

The prize will be awarded annually for outstanding work in precision measurements of fundamental constants and tests of fundamental laws and symmetries or in atomic, molecular and optical physics. The prize shall ordinarily go to one individual, but may be shared with one or two others if this is clearly appropriate. Nominations are open to scientists of all nationalities regardless of the geographical site at which the work was done and nominations are active for three years. In keeping with the APS goal of serving a diverse and inclusive community of physicists, nominations of qualified women and members of underrepresented minority groups are especially encouraged.

Contact: James Riordon, APS,, (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.