Gerald Gabrielse

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Gerald Gabrielse is an American physicist and the George Vasmer Leverett Professor of Physics at Harvard University. In 2007, he was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences.


Gabrielse graduated with a B.S. (honors) from Calvin College. He then completed his M.S. (1975) and Ph.D. (1980) in physics from the University of Chicago.

Academic career[edit]

Gabrielse became a postdoc at the University of Washington in Seattle in 1978, and joined the faculty in 1985. He became Professor of Physics at Harvard University in 1987, and the chair of the Harvard Physics Department in 2000. He is currently Harvard's George Vasmer Leverett Professor of Physics.


  • Inducted into the National Academy of Sciences (2007)
  • Trotter Prize, Texas A&M University (2013)
  • Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize of the American Physical Society, 2011
  • Davisson-Germer Prizeof the American Physical Society, 2002
  • Humboldt Research Award, Germany, 2005
  • Premio Caterina Tomassoni and Felice Pietro Chisesi Prize, Italy, 2008
  • Levenson Prize for Excellence in the Education of Undergraduates, Harvard University, 2000
  • George Ledlie Prize, Harvard University, 2004
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society, 1992-
  • Distinguished Alumnus Award, Trinity College, 1999
  • Distinguished Alumni Award, Calvin College, 2006
  • Källén Lecturer, Lund, Sweden, 2007
  • William H. Zachariasen Lecturer at the University of Chicago for 2007-2008
  • Poincaré Lecturer, Paris, 2007


  • Gabrielse started low energy antiproton and antihydrogen physics by proposing the trapping of antiprotons from a storage ring, cooling them in collisions with trapped electrons,[1] and the use of these to form low energy antihydrogen atoms.[2] He led the TRAP team that realized the first antiproton trapping,[3] the first electron cooling of trapped antiprotons, and the accumulation of antiprotons in a 4 Kelvin apparatus.[4] The demonstrations and methods made possible an effort that grew to involve 4 international collaborations of physicists working at CERN's Antiproton Decelerator - a storage ring built so that the antiproton and antihydrogen experiments that the proposed experiments could be carried out.
  • Gabrielse and his TRAP team made the most precise test of the Standard Model's fundamental CPT theorem with baryons by comparing the ratio of the charges and masses of a single trapped antiproton with that of a proton[5] to a precision of 9 parts in 1011. The precision of the resulting confirmation of the Standard Model prediction exceeded that of earlier comparisons by nearly a factor of 106.
  • Gabrielse led the ATRAP team, one of the two teams that first produced slow antihydrogen atoms[6] and then suspended such antimatter atoms in a magnetic trap.[7] Both teams used trapped antiprotons within a nested Penning trap device (demonstrated with protons and electrons) to produce antihydrogen atoms slow enough to be trapped in a magnetic trap as he had suggested. The long-term goal is precise spectroscopic comparisons of antihydrogen and hydrogen atoms to make tests of the CPT theorem with unprecedented precision using leptons and baryons.
  • Gabrielse and his students used a single trapped electron to measure the electron magnetic moment[8] to the incredible precision of 1 part in 1013. This most precise measurement of the particle of an elementary particle is nearly 15 times more precise than a measurement that had stood for about 20 years. The most stringent test of the so-called Standard Model of Particle Physics comes from comparing this precise measurement to the value predicted by the Standard Model theory. The agreement, to nearly the precision of the measurement, is arguably the greatest triumph of the Standard Model.
  • Gabrielse and his ATRAP team made the first one-particle comparison of the magnetic moments of a single proton[9] and a single antiproton.[10] Their comparison, to a precision of 5 parts in 106, was 680 times more precision than previous measurements. His team, and a team that has formed to compete, both aspire to eventually compare the antiproton and proton to a precision that is 1 to 10 thousand times higher still.
  • The Brown-Gabrielse Invariance Theorem,[11] relating the free space cyclotron frequency to the measureable eigenfrequencies of an imperfect Penning trap, has many applications - including the most precise measurements of magnetic moments the most precise mass spectroscopy.[12] It also makes possible the sideband mass spectroscopy that is a standard tool of nuclear physics.[13]
  • His patented self-shielding superconducting solenoid[14] uses flux conservation and a carefully chosen geometry of coupled coils to cancel fluctuations in the strong field of a superconducting solenoid that are due to external sources. It made possible the extremely precise comparison of antiproton and proton despite the changing magnetic fields of the accelerators that provided the antiprotons, and is widely used so that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems can be located in changing magnetic fields from external sources (e.g. elevators).

Religious views[edit]

Gabrielse identifies himself as a scientist who is Christian that stands in the tradition of the Protestant Reformation. He said:

I do not believe that science and the Bible are in conflict. However, it is possible to misunderstand the Bible and to misunderstand science. It is important to figure out what of each might be misunderstood.[15]


  • On an episode of Late Night with Conan O'Brien that aired on February 21, 2007, Jim Carrey and Conan O'Brien humorously discussed content from a paper entitled, "Stochastic Phase-Switching of a Parametrically-Driven Electron in a Penning Trap"[16] Gerald Gabrielse said that it was 'perhaps the most obscure paper I've ever written'.[17]
  • Working at CERN, Gabrielse trapped the first antiprotons in 1986. Dan Brown's subsequent novel "Angels and Demons", and the movie made from it, describe antimatter trapped at CERN. Gabrielse jokes that what Dan Brown did for the Roman Catholic Church in "Di Vinci Code," Brown did for Gabrielse's antimatter research in "Angels and Demons."
  • Tom Stoppard's play "Hapgood" features a reflection by a bearded physicist on trapping antimatter.


  1. ^ Gabrielse, G.; X. Fei; L.A. Orozco; R.L. Tjoelker; J. Haas; H. Kalinowsky; T. Trainor; W. Kells (1989). Physical Review Letters 63: 1360. Bibcode:1989PhRvL..63.1360G. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.63.1360.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ Gabrielse, G. "Erice Proposal" (PDF). 
  3. ^ Gabrielse, G.; X. Fei; K. Helmerson; S.L. Rolston; R. Tjoelker; H. Kalinowsky; J. Haas; W. Kells (1986). Physical Review Letters 57: 2504. Bibcode:1986PhRvL..57.2504G. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.57.2504.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ Gabrielse, G. (December 1992). "Extremely Cold Antiprotons". Scientific American: 78. 
  5. ^ Gabrielse, G.; G. Gabrielse; A. Khabbaz; D.S. Hall; C. Heimann; H. Kalinowsky; W. Jhe (1999). Physical Review Letters 82: 3198. Bibcode:1999PhRvL..82.3198G. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.82.3198.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ Gabrielse, G.; N.S. Bowden, P. Oxley, A. Speck, C.H. Storry, J.N. Tan, M. Wessels, D. Grzonka, W. Oelert, G. Schepers, T. Sefzick, J. Walz, H. Pittner, T.W. Haensch, E.A. Hessels (2002). Physical Review Letters 89: 213401. Bibcode:2002PhRvL..89c3401H. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.89.033401.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ Gabrielse, G.; R. Kalra, W. S. Kolthammer, R. McConnell, P. Richerme, D. Grzonka, W. Oelert, T. Sefzick, M. Zielinski, D. W. Fitzakerley, M. C. George, E. A. Hessels, C. H. Storry, M. Weel, A. Müllers, and J. Walz (2012). Physical Review Letters 108: 113002. Bibcode:2012PhRvL.108b3002P. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.108.023002.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Hanneke, D.; S. Fogwell; G. Gabrielse (2009). Physical Review Letters 100: 120801. doi:10.1103/physrevlett.100.120801.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ DiSciacca, J.; G. Gabrielse (2012). Physical Review Letters 108: 153001. Bibcode:2012PhRvL.108b3001H. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.108.023001.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ DiSciacca, J.; M. Marshall, K. Marable, G. Gabrielse, S. Ettenauer, E. Tardiff, R. Kalra, D.W. Fitzakerley, M.C. George, E.A. Hessels, C.H. Storry, M. Weel, D. Grzonka, W. Oelert, and T. Sefzick (2013). Physical Review Letters 110: 130801. doi:10.1103/physrevlett.110.130801.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ Brown, L.; G. Gabrielse (1982). Phys. Rev. A 25: 2423. Bibcode:1982PhRvA..25.2423B. doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.25.2423.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ Gabrielse, G. (2009). International Journal of Mass Spectrometry 279: 107. Bibcode:2009IJMSp.279..107G. doi:10.1016/j.ijms.2008.10.015.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ Gabrielse, G. (2009). Physical Review Letters 102: 172501. doi:10.1103/physrevlett.102.172501.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^ Gabrielse, G.; J. Tan (1988). Journal of Applied Physics 63: 5143. Bibcode:1988JAP....63.5143G. doi:10.1063/1.340416.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ "Distinguished Alumni Award: Gerald Gabrielse '73". Calvin College. Retrieved 2008-06-11. 
  16. ^ L.J. Lapidus, D. Enzer and G. Gabrielse (1999-08-02). "Stochastic Phase-Switching of a Parametrically-Driven Electron in a Penning Trap" (PDF). Physical Review Letters, vol. 83 no. 5, 899. 
  17. ^ "Jim Carey and Conan O'Brien".