Cooper, Leon N.

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COOPER, LEON N. (1930– ), U.S. physicist and Nobel laureate. Cooper was born in New York City, where he got his B.A. (1951), M.A. (1953), and Ph.D. (1954) from Columbia University. After appointments at the Institute of Advanced Study (1954–55), the University of Illinois (1955–57), and Ohio State University (1957–58), he joined Brown University, where he became professor, and (from 1974) Thomas J. Watson Sr. Professor of Science and (from 1973) director of Brown University's Institute for Brain and Neural Systems. Cooper's earlier research was in theoretical physics. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics (1972) jointly with John Bardeen and Robert Schrieffer for providing a theoretical basis in quantum terms for the behavior of electrons whereby they "pair up" during superconductivity, the state in which electrical resistance reduces to zero at very low temperatures. Subsequently he led an interdisciplinary organization concerned with understanding learning and memory through theoretical models and experiment. While he remained interested in basic problems such as the limits of the laws of physics in understanding the universe, he also concentrated on the application of theoretical systems to drug development, electronics, and communications, including major involvement in industrial organizations with the same objectives. His many honors include the Comstock Prize of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (1968).

[Michael Denman (2nd ed.)]

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Cooper, Leon N.

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