Cornell, Eric Allin

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Eric Allin Cornell, 1961–, American physicist, b. Palo Alto, Calif., Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1990. Since 1990, he has been a researcher at the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics in Boulder, Colo., a collaborative organization of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Univ. of Colorado. In 2001 Cornell and Carl Wieman shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Wolfgang Ketterle for creating the first Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC; see condensate) in the laboratory and characterizing its properties. Cornell and Wieman produced the first condensate in an ultracold gas of rubidium atoms in 1995. Predicted by Albert Einstein in 1924, the creation of a BEC provided scientists with a new window into the world of quantum physics.