facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Nobel-winning physicist Richardson dies

Feb. 22, 2013 at 2:50 PM   |   Comments

ITHACA, N.Y., Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Robert C. Richardson, who shared a Nobel Prize for turning helium into a liquid state never seen before, has died, Cornell University reported. He was 75.

The university, where Richardson had been a physics professor since 1968, said he died Thursday in Ithaca, N.Y., of complications of a heart attack suffered three weeks ago.

Richardson and two Cornell colleagues conducted experiments in 1971 to explore the properties of atoms at a fraction of a degree above absolute zero.

In cooling helium to within a few thousandths of a degree of absolute zero they created what physicists call a superfluid -- a liquid that flows without friction.

"I quickly tell people it has no practical applications," Douglas D. Osheroff, who as a Cornell graduate student was one of the three experimenters, said in an interview with the New York Times.

However, it allowed scientists to study a variety of scientific problems, including basic quantum interactions at the atomic level, and the experiment won Richardson, Osheroff and David M. Lee the 1996 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Richardson was born June 26, 1937, in Washington, attended Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Va., and earned a bachelor's and a master's degree in physics at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He went to Cornell in 1966 as a postdoctoral researcher and was promoted to assistant professor two years later.

He served as Cornell's first vice provost for research from 1998 to 2003 and was a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police
2
Physicists teleport photon over 15 miles Physicists teleport photon over 15 miles
3
Major palm oil companies to halt deforestation Major palm oil companies to halt deforestation
4
Perth's first iPhone buyer immediately drops brand new phone on live TV Perth's first iPhone buyer immediately drops brand new phone on live TV
5
Latest Ebola outbreak spreading much faster than in the past Latest Ebola outbreak spreading much faster than in the past
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback