Nobel Prize Laureate Delivers Catherine H. Bone Lecture in Chemistry Oct. 20 at Wilkes University

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Wilkes-Barre native William Daniel Phillips will present an interactive and demonstration-based lecture on time and temperature.

William Daniel Phillips, co-recipient of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics, will deliver the Catherine H. Bone Lecture in Chemistry at Wilkes University at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 20 in Stark Learning Center, Room 101. Phillips’ lecture is titled “Time, Einstein and the Coolest Stuff in the Universe.” It is free and open to the public.

William D. Phillips
Nobel Prize Laureate William D. Phillips will present the Catherine H. Bone Lecture at Wilkes University

Einstein changed the way humans think about time. Now the measurement of time is being revolutionized by the ability to cool a gas of atoms to temperatures millions of times lower than any naturally occurring temperature in the universe. Attendees can expect a lively, demonstration-based and down-to-earth presentation about today’s hottest (and coolest) science. 

Phillips won the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics for his contributions to laser cooling, a technique to slow the movement of gaseous atoms in order to better study them. He shared the honor with Steven Chu and Claude Cohen-Tannoudji.

He was born in Wilkes-Barre and spent his early years in Kingston, Pa. before his family relocated first to the Pittsburgh area and then to the Harrisburg area. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Juniata College and his Doctor of Philosophy in physics from MIT. Since the late seventies, Phillips has worked at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a physical sciences laboratory and non-regulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce. He is a professor of physics at the University of Maryland.

Several of his innovations became landmarks in the field. These include a device using a laser along with a magnetic field to decelerate and cool an atomic beam (the “Zeeman slower”), demonstrating the first device that trapped electrically neutral atoms (a magnetic trap) and measuring a temperature far below that predicted by the accepted theory of laser cooling at the time (known as sub-Doppler cooling).

The Catherine H. Bone Lecture series was made possible by the endowments of its namesake, who taught chemistry at Wilkes from 1946 to 1965.

Advance registration is encouraged but not required. Attendees can learn more at

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