Physicists Eric A. Cornell of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Carl E. Wieman of the University of Colorado at Boulder have won the Lorentz Medal from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The medal, which honors H.A. Lorentz, a lifelong member of the academy and 1902 Nobel Prize winner, was awarded for Cornell and Wieman's creation in 1995 of the first Bose-Einstein condensate, a new form of matter predicted by Albert Einstein and Satyendra Bose more than 70 years ago. To achieve the condensate, Cornell and Wieman cooled rubidium atoms to about 170 billionths of a degree above absolute zero in a two-step process using laser and magnetic traps.
They will be presented with the gold medal at a special session of the Science Division of the academy on Jan. 25, 1999. The first recipient of the medal in 1927 was Professor Max Planck of Germany. The prize is awarded every four years.
Wieman, a distinguished professor of physics at CU-Boulder, and Cornell, a staff physicist at NIST, are both fellows of JILA, a joint institute of CU-Boulder and NIST. Cornell also is an adjoint professor of physics at CU-Boulder. The physics department is part of CU-Boulder's College of Arts and Sciences.
Both Wieman and Cornell teach graduate and undergraduate classes.