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2001 Nobel Prize in Physics Recipient Carl E. Wieman wins 2009 Vollum Award


In addition to the Nobel Prize, Wieman's honors include election into the National Academy of Sciences and the Lorentz Medal, which is awarded every four years to a researcher in recognition of groundbreaking contributions to the development of theoretical physics.


Portland, OR (August 17, 2009)--2001 Nobel Prize recipient Carl Wieman will accept the 2009 Vollum Award for Distinguished Accomplishment in Science and Technology at Reed College’s convocation ceremony on August 26. The Division of Mathematics & Natural Sciences at the college selects awardees who demonstrate the perseverance, fresh approach to problem-solving, and creative imagination that characterized Howard Vollum's career. The winner receives $5,000 and a silver medal encased in a walnut triptych.

Wieman won the 2001 Nobel Prize in physics—along with collaborators Eric Allin Cornell and Wolfgang Ketterle—for work on atom trapping and Bose-Einstein condensate. The team’s success played a key role in opening a fertile new research focus in experimental physics. Bose-Einstein condensate is similar to laser beam technology: where a laser beam is the precisely controlled manipulation of photons, Bose-Einstein condensate makes possible the precise control of atoms, a control that could be applied in the creation of very sensitive measurement instruments and perhaps tiny structures such as the ones built into computer chips.

Wieman was born in Corvallis, Oregon, and graduated from Corvallis High School. He earned a B.S. in 1973 from MIT and a Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1977. In addition to the Nobel Prize, his honors include election into the National Academy of Sciences and the Lorentz Medal, which is awarded every four years to a researcher in recognition of groundbreaking contributions to the development of theoretical physics.

Wieman has worked on innovations in teaching physics to a broad range of students, including the Physics Education Technology Project that creates educational online interactive simulations. He was also recognized with the National Science Foundation’s Distinguished Teaching Scholar Award in 2001 and the Carnegie Foundation’s U.S. University Professor of the Year Award in 2004. In 2007, he received the American Association of Physics Teachers’ Oersted Medal.  Wieman is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and chairs the Academy Board on Science Education and is also a member of the U.S. National Academy of Education.

The Vollum Award was created by Reed College and endowed in 1975 by a grant from the Millicent Foundation, now a part of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. Past recipients include Leroy Hood, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Arthur F. Scott, Douglas C. Strain, and B. Kenneth Koe, to name a few.