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William Daniel Phillips (born November 5, 1948 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvaniamarker) is an Americanmarker physicist. He is of Italian and Welsh extraction and a Methodist.


Phillips was born to William Cornelius Phillips and Mary Catherine Savino. His parents moved to Camp Hillmarker (near Harrisburg, Pennsylvaniamarker) in 1959, where he attended high schoolmarker and graduated valedictorian of his class. He graduated from Juniata Collegemarker in 1970 summa cum laude. After that he received his physics doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technologymarker.

Phillips' doctoral thesis concerned magnetic moment of the proton in H2O. This led to connections that would be important later in his research. He later did some work with Bose-Einstein condensate. In 1997 he won the Nobel Prize in Physics (together with Claude Cohen-Tannoudji and Steven Chu) for his contributions to laser cooling, a technique to slow the movement of gaseous atoms in order to better study them, at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Phillips is also a professor of physics at University of Maryland, College Parkmarker.

He was one of the 35 Noble Laureates who signed a letter urging President Obama to provide a stable $15bn pa support for clean energy research, technology and demonstration

He is one of three well-known scientists and Methodist laity who have involved themselves in the religion and science dialogue. The other two scientists and fellow Methodists are chemist Charles Coulson and 1981 Nobel laureate Arthur Leonard Schawlow.

Personal life

Phillips married Jane Van Wynen shortly before he went to MIT. Although neither had been regular churchgoers early in their marriage in 1979 they joined the Fairhaven United Methodist Church in Gaithersburg, Marylandmarker because they appreciated its diversity. He is a founding member of the International Society for Science & Religion. He and his wife have two daughters; Caitlin Phillips (b 1979) who founded Rebound Designs, and Christine Phillips (b 1981) who is studying in the UK to be an archaeologist.

During a seminar at the UMCP Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry titled Coherent Atoms in Optical Lattices Phillips stated, "Rubidium is God's gift to Bose-Einstein condensates."

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