Nobel Laureates

Nobel Medals

Thirteen Nobel laureates have enriched our department through their contributions as students, postdocs, or faculty members, including John Bardeen, the only person to have won two Nobel Prizes in Physics, and Anthony J. Leggett, currently the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Chair in Physics.

2003 Sir Peter Mansfield

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
"for discoveries concerning magnetic resonance imaging"
Mansfield was a postdoctoral researcher with Charles P. Slichter, 1962–64.

Tony Leggett standing next to his hand-drawn illustration of the Schroedinger thought experiment (notice the cat and gun).
Tony Leggett standing next to his hand-drawn illustration of the Schroedinger thought experiment (notice the cat and gun).

2003 Anthony J. Leggett

Nobel Prize in Physics
"for pioneering contributions to the theory of superconductors and superfluids"
Leggett received postdoctoral training here with David Pines (1964–65) and has been a member of our faculty since 1983.

1989 Norman Ramsey

Nobel Prize in Physics
"for the invention of the separated oscillatory fields method and its use in the hydrogen maser and other atomic clocks"
Ramsey was an assistant professor of physics in 1940 before leaving for war service.

Rosalyn Yalow
Rosalyn Yalow

1977 Rosalyn Sussman Yalow

Nobel Prize in Medicine
"for the development of radioimmunoassays of peptide hormones"
Yalow was a student of Maurice Goldhaber and received an Illinois physics PhD in 1945.

1973 Brian Josephson

Nobel Prize in Physics
"for his theoretical predictions of the properties of a supercurrent through a tunnel barrier, in particular those phenomena which are generally known as the Josephson effects"
Josephson was a postdoctoral research associate at Physics Illinois, working with John Bardeen and David Pines, in 1965–66.

John Bardeen, Leon Cooper and Robert Schrieffer at the 1972 Nobel Prize ceremony.
John Bardeen, Leon Cooper and Robert Schrieffer at the 1972 Nobel Prize ceremony.

1972 John Bardeen, Leon Cooper and J. Robert Schrieffer

Nobel Prize in Physics (with Leon Cooper and Robert Schrieffer)
"for their jointly developed theory of superconductivity, usually called the BCS-theory"

1972 Leon Cooper

Nobel Prize in Physics (with John Bardeen and Robert Schrieffer)
"for their jointly developed theory of superconductivity, usually called the BCS-theory"
Cooper was a postdoctoral research associate at Physics Illinois from 1955 to 1957.

1972 J. Robert Schrieffer

Nobel Prize in Physics (with John Bardeen and Leon Cooper)
"for their jointly developed theory of superconductivity, usually called the BCS-theory"
Schrieffer was a student of John Bardeen; he received his PhD from Illinois in 1957. He was an assistant professor at Physics Illinois 1959–61, and an associate professor in 1962.

John Bardeen and Murray Gell-Mann
John Bardeen and Murray Gell-Mann

1969 Murray Gell-Mann

Nobel Prize in Physics
"for his contributions and discoveries concerning the classification of elementary particles and their interactions"
Gell-Mann was a postdoctoral research associate at Physics Illinois in 1951 and a visiting research professor in 1952–53, while he was an instructor at the University of Chicago. Gell-Mann was attracted to the University of Illinois because Wheeler Loomis paid summer salaries—about the only source of summer money for theorists at the time. He spent two productive summers in the fourth-floor Physics "penthouse," working with Francis Low on what came to be known as the Gell-Mann-Low equations of particle theory. He is said to have commented that it was so hot in the penthouse that they had to write everything in ink, because pencil notations got too smudged from sweat.

1959 Emilio Segrè

Nobel Prize in Physics (with Owen Chamberlain)
"for their discovery of the antiproton"
Segrè was a visiting professor at Physics Illinois in 1951–52.

1957 Tsung-Dao Lee

Nobel Prize in Physics (with Chen Ning Yang)
"for their penetrating investigation of the so-called parity laws which has led to important discoveries regarding the elementary particles"
Lee was a postdoctoral research associate at Physics Illinois in 1952–53.

1957 Chen Ning Yang

Nobel Prize in Physics (with Tsung-Dao Lee)
"for their penetrating investigation of the so-called parity laws which has led to important discoveries regarding the elementary particles"
Yang was a postdoctoral research associate at Physics Illinois in 1952–53. He returned as a visiting professor in 1964.

John Bardeen (left photo), music box (right photo)
John Bardeen (left photo), music box (right photo)

1956 John Bardeen

Nobel Prize in Physics (with William Shockley and Walter Brattain)
"for their researches on semiconductors and their discovery of the transistor effect"
Bardeen was a professor at Physics Illinois from 1951 until his death in 1991.

Left photo taken May 1975 when Kusch visited Urbana to receive a University Distinguished Alumni Award at Commencement.  Right photo head shot of Polykarp Kusch attached to his graduate school application, ca. 1935.
From the University of Illinois Alumni Association archives, "When Polykarp Kusch saw Prof. Emeritus Gerald Almy at the Union, he hurried up to his room to get evidence of work he is doing currently on molecular spectra, his study area under Prof. Wheeler Loomis here in the '30s. Almy, at left in photo, was a physics instructor when Kusch enrolled at Illinois for Ph.D. work." Read the letter Kusch sent after visiting Urbana to receive the University Distinguished Alumni Award.

Left photo taken May 1975 when Kusch visited Urbana to receive a University Distinguished Alumni Award at Commencement. Right photo head shot of Polykarp Kusch attached to his graduate school application, ca. 1935.

1955 Polykarp Kusch

Nobel Prize in Physics
"for his precision determination of the magnetic moment of the electron"
A student of Wheeler Loomis, Kusch received an Illinois PhD in 1936.