Colorado High School Inventor To Meet, Share Invention With Nobel Prize Winner

Published: Nov. 13, 2001

Editors: Ryan Patterson's CU-Boulder visit is not open to the public, but the media may attend part of the Saturday meeting at JILA from 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Grand Junction teenage science whiz Ryan Patterson, who has been invited to present his invention of an assistive technology device to Nobel laureates in Sweden next month, will meet one of this year's Colorado Nobel Prize winners, Eric Cornell, this Saturday.

Patterson, 18, will meet with Cornell on Saturday, Nov. 17, during a visit to CU-Boulder's College of Engineering where he is considering programs in electrical engineering, computer engineering and computer science. He has received offers and scholarships at top engineering schools across the country.

The two will discuss their inventions and Cornell will give Patterson a tour of the JILA laboratories where he and CU Distinguished Professor Carl Wieman created the world's first Bose-Einstein condensate, an achievement for which they share the 2001 Nobel Prize in physics.

Cornell and Wieman were named co-winners of the physics prize on Oct. 9 with Wolfgang Ketterle of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Cornell is a senior scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and an adjoint professor at CU-Boulder.

The Bose-Einstein condensate is a new form of matter that occurs at just a few hundred billionths of a degree above absolute zero.

Patterson, who is a senior at Grand Junction's Central High School, won top honors at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in May for his invention of a glove that translates American Sign Language into written words on a computer. The prize included more than $216,000 in cash and scholarships and the Glenn T. Seaborg Nobel Prize Visit Award inviting him to present his invention as part of the annual Nobel festivities in Stockholm, Sweden.

This year's Nobel ceremony, which marks the 100th anniversary of the prize, will be attended by a record number of Nobel laureates, including CU-Boulder winners Cornell, Wieman and Thomas Cech, a CU-Boulder professor who won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1989.

For more information, contact Senior Research Associate Jim Sullivan in the computer science department at (303) 492-3912 or Carol Rowe in the College of Engineering and Applied Science at (303) 492-7426.