Dan Kleppner Awarded 2017 APS Medal

By Michael Riordan

On September 21, the American Physical Society announced that Daniel Kleppner of MIT will be awarded the 2017 APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research for his “seminal research setting the direction for modern atomic, molecular, and optical physics.” He follows in the footsteps of Edward Witten of Princeton, who won the inaugural medal this year for his seminal contributions to quantum field theory.

A graduate student of Norman Ramsey at Harvard, with whom Kleppner worked on the invention of the hydrogen maser, Kleppner’s wide-ranging research interests include precision measurements, fundamental constants, Rydberg atoms, cavity quantum electrodynamics, and quantum chaos. With Thomas Greytak and others, he helped pioneer the field of Bose-Einstein condensation, achieving this phenomenon in hydrogen in 1998. “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,” said APS President-Elect Laura Greene, chair of the APS Medal nominating committee.

Kleppner served as Chair of the Forum on History of Physics from 2010 to 2011 and currently represents the Forum on the APS Council. He also organized and led the successful effort to establish the Physics Heritage Fund.

Kleppner is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and was awarded the National Medal of Science (2006), the Wolf Prize in Physics (2005), the APS Lillienfeld Prize (1990) and Davisson-Germer Prize (1985), and many others.

Daniel Kleppner

APS Medal Winner Daniel Kleppner

The articles in this issue represent the views of their authors and are not necessarily those of the Forum or APS.