Skip to Main Content Skip to Footer Toggle Navigation Menu
The top of Pioneer Hall through vibrant fall leaves on the trees.

William D. Phillips

William D. Phillips

bill-phillips-portrait-600x400.jpgWilliam D. Phillips received the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics “for the development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light" with Steven Chu and Claude Cohen-Tannoudji. Their finding led to some of the most important technologies of modern atomic physics, used today by researchers in various applications. 

Phillips is a distinguished university professor and College Park professor of physics at the University of Maryland. He is also a fellow at the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST).

A Pennsylvania native, Phillips graduated summa cum laude from Juniata College with a B.S. in physics in 1970. He would go on to earn his doctorate in physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1976. He has received honorary degrees from Williams College, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Universidad Autonoma de San Luis Potosi, École Normale Supérieure, the University of Strathclyde and the University of Oxford.

Phillips has received numerous honors and awards throughout his career, among them are: 

  • American Academy of Achievement Award
  • NIST Condon Award
  • Archie Mahan Prize of the Optical Society of America
  • Arthur L. Schawlow Prize in Laser Science from the American Physical Society
  • Service to America Medal, Career Achievement Award
  • Meritorious Senior Professional Award (Presidential Rank)

He is a member of the (among others):

  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • National Academy of Sciences
  • European Academy of Arts, Sciences and Humanities
  • Pontifical Academy of Sciences

A discussion with Phillips