Norman Foster Ramsey, Jr.
|Norman Foster Ramsey, Jr.|
August 27, 1915|
November 4, 2011 (aged 96)|
|Alma mater||Columbia University, University of Cambridge|
|Known for||Separated oscillatory field method|
IEEE Medal of Honor|
1989 Nobel Prize in Physics
Norman Foster Ramsey, Jr. (August 27, 1915 – November 4, 2011) was an American physicist. A physics professor at Harvard University since 1947, Ramsey also held several posts with such government and international agencies as NATO and the United States Atomic Energy Commission. He was awarded the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physics for the invention, in 1949, of the separated oscillatory field method, which had important applications in the construction of atomic clocks. The Prize was shared with Hans G. Dehmelt and Wolfgang Paul. Among his other accomplishments are helping to found the United States Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory and Fermilab.
In 1949, while working at Harvard, Ramsey applied a key insight to improve Columbia University physicist Isidor Rabi's method of studying atoms and molecules. In 1937, Rabi used alternating magnetic fields to characterize atomic matter. Ramsey exposed the atoms to the magnetic field only as they entered or exited his device. Ramsey called it the separated oscillatory fields method; today it is simply called the Ramsey Method.
The Ramsey Method also was key in developing the atomic clock. As of 1967, a second of time was no longer defined by a fraction of the earth's revolution around the sun, but rather as 9,192,631,770 radiation cycles of a cesium atom.
Ramsey was born in Washington, DC on August 27, 1915 to Minna Bauer Ramsey, a mathematics teacher, and Norman Foster Ramsey, an Army officer. He earned his B.A. and Ph.D. in physics from Columbia University in 1935 and 1940, respectively. He stayed on as a member of the Columbia faculty until 1947, when he moved to Harvard University. He died on November 4, 2011.
- Ramsey, N. F.; Birge, R. W. & U. E. Kruse. "Proton-Proton Scattering at 105 Mev and 75 Mev", Harvard University, United States Department of Energy (through predecessor agency the United States Atomic Energy Commission), (January 31, 1951).
- Ramsey, N. F.; Cone, A. A.; Chen, K. W.; Dunning, J. R. Jr.; Hartwig, G.; Walker, J. K. & R. Wilson. "Inelastic Scattering Of Electrons By Protons", Department of Physics at Harvard University, United States Department of Energy (through predecessor agency the United States Atomic Energy Commission), (December 1966).
- Ramsey, N. F.; Greene, G. L.; Mampe, W.; Pendlebury, J. M.; Smith, K. ; Dress, W. B.; Miller, P. D. & P. Perrin. "Determination of the Neutron Magnetic Moment", Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Harvard University, Institut Max von Laue, Astronomy Centre of Sussex University, United States Department of Energy, (June 1981).
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- Norman Ramsey Dies at 96; Work Led to the Atomic Clock, New York Times on-line, November 6, 2011
- Photograph, Biography and Bibliographic Resources, from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information, United States Department of Energy
- Nobel autobiography
- Nobel 1989 Physics laureates
- Norman F. Ramsey
- Group photograph including (right to left) Norman F. Ramsey, Marlan Scully, and F. J. Duarte.
- "Norman Ramsey and the Separated Oscillatory Fields Method". Office of Scientific and Technical Information, U.S. DOE. Retrieved on 2 March 2009.
- Norman F. Ramsey, an oral history conducted in 1991 by John Bryant, IEEE History Center, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.
- Norman Ramsey, an oral history conducted in 1995 by Andrew Goldstein, IEEE History Center, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.