Wolfgang Ketterle

John D. MacArthur Professor of Physics
Director, MIT-Harvard Center for Ultracold Atoms
2001 Nobel Laureate
Creation of first gaseous Bose-Einstein condensate led to being co-recipient of 2001 Nobel Prize in Physics.
Research Areas

Research Interests

Studies of ultracold atomic matter, superfluidity, spin physics, ultracold molecules.

What is the difference between laser and evaporative cooling? What physics stand behind frequency shift? How does ultracooling expand our knowledge of electrones? MIT Professor of Physics Wolfgang Ketterle talks on new possibilities for material scientists.
Courtesy of Serious Science | YouTube

Biographical Sketch

Wolfgang Ketterle has been the John D. MacArthur Professor of Physics at MIT since 1998. He received a diploma (equivalent to master’s degree) from the Technical University of Munich (1982), and the Ph.D. in physics from the University of Munich (1986). He did postdoctoral work at the Max-Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching and at the University of Heidelberg in molecular spectroscopy and combustion  diagnostics. In 1990, he came to MIT as a postdoc and joined the physics faculty in 1993. Since 2006, he is the director of the Center of Ultracold Atoms, an NSF funded research center, and Associate Director of the Research Laboratory of Electronics. His research group studies properties of ultracold atomic matter.

For additional biographical information on Professor Ketterle, see his autobiography written for the Nobel Foundation.

MIT150 Infinite History Project – Wolfgang Ketterle
Courtesy of Infinite MIT

Awards & Honors

  • 2020 // Teaching With Digital Technology Award
  • 2016 // Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for his “seminal contributions to achieving Bose-Einstein condensation in dilute gases of alkali atoms, and for fundamental studies of the properties of the condensates."
  • 2015 // Teaching Prizes for Graduate Education for 8.421 and 8.422
  • 2014 // Honorary member of the German Physics Society
  • 2014 // Honorary Professor at Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xian, China
  • 2011 // Member, Russian Academy of Sciences
  • 2009 // Humboldt Research Award
  • 2009 // Honorary Membership in Deutscher Hochschulverband
  • 2009 // James Joyce Award of the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin
  • 2009 // Leonie Wild Medal of the Town of Eppelheim
  • 2006 // Fellow, Optical Society of America (OSA)
  • 2005 // Membership in the German Academy of Natural Scientists, Leopoldina
  • 2004 // Killian Faculty Achievement Award, MIT
  • 2003 // 2003 Bavarian Academy of Sciences Saxon Lecturer
  • 2002 // Knight Commander's Cross (Badge and Star) of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • 2002 // Medal of Merit of the State of Baden-Würtemberg
  • 2002 // Fellow of the Institute of Physics
  • 2002 // Member of the Academy of Sciences in Heidelberg, Germany
  • 2002 // Titular Member of the European Academy of Arts, Sciences & Humanities
  • 2002 // Officer in the Order of Legion of Honour of France
  • 2001 // Nobel Prize in Physics (shared with E.A. Cornell and C.E. Wieman)
  • 2000 // Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics
  • 1999 // Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS)
  • 1999 // Dannie-Heineman Prize of the Academy of Sciences, Göttingen, Germany
  • 1999 // Fritz London Prize in Low Temperature Physics
  • 1998 // Discover Magazine Award for Technological Innovation
  • 1998-99 // Distinguished Traveling Lecturer of the Division of Laser Science of the American Physical Society
  • 1997 // Gustav-Hertz Prize of the German Physical Society
  • 1997 // I.I. Rabi Prize of the American Physical Society
  • 1997 // Fellow, American Physical Society (APS)
  • 1996 // David and Lucile Packard Fellowship
  • 1994 // Michael and Philip Platzman Award, MIT
  • 1990-91 // NATO/DAAD Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 1976-82 // Fellowship of Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes

Key Publications