Leon Cooper

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Leon N Cooper
Born (1930-02-28) February 28, 1930 (age 88)
New York City, United States
Residence United States
Nationality US
Alma mater Columbia University
Known for Superconductivity</br>Cooper pairs
Awards Nobel Prize in Physics (1972)
Comstock Prize in Physics (1968)
Scientific career
Fields Physics
Institutions Brown University
Doctoral advisor Robert Serber
Doctoral students Elie Bienenstock</br>Paul Munro</br>Nathan Intrator</br>Omer Artun</br>Michael Perrone</br>Alan Saul

Leon N Cooper[1] (born February 28, 1930) is an American physicist and Nobel Prize laureate, who with John Bardeen and John Robert Schrieffer, developed the BCS theory of superconductivity. He is also the namesake of the Cooper pair and co-developer of the BCM theory of synaptic plasticity.

Biography and career

Cooper graduated from the Bronx High School of Science in 1947 and received a B.A. in 1951, M.A. in 1953, and Ph.D. in 1954 from Columbia University. He spent a year at the Institute for Advanced Study and taught at the University of Illinois and Ohio State University before coming to Brown University in 1958. He is the Thomas J. Watson, Sr. Professor of Science at Brown, and Director of the Institute for Brain and Neural Systems.

He has carried out research at various institutions including the Institute for Advanced Study, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland.

The character Sheldon Cooper, featured in the CBS comedy The Big Bang Theory, is named after Leon Cooper.

Memberships and honors


Cooper is the author of an unconventional liberal-arts physics textbook, originally An Introduction to the Meaning and Structure of Physics (Harper and Row, 1968) and still in print in a somewhat condensed form as Physics: Structure and Meaning (Lebanon: New Hampshire, University Press of New England, 1992).


  1. Many printed materials, including the Nobel Prize website, have referred to Cooper as “Leon Neil Cooper”. However, the middle initial N does not stand for Neil, or for any other name. The correct form of the name is, thus, “Leon N Cooper”, with no abbreviation dots.
  2. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1 at line 746: Argument map not defined for this variable.

External links