Daniel Kleppner

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Daniel Kleppner
Born (1932-12-16) December 16, 1932 (age 87)
Alma materWilliams College (B.A.)
University of Cambridge
Harvard University (Ph.D.)
Known forAtomic physics
Spouse(s)Beatrice Kleppner
AwardsLilienfeld Prize (1991)
Oersted Medal (1997)
Wolf Prize in Physics (2005)
National Medal of Science (2006)
Franklin Institute Award (2014)
Scientific career
ThesisThe Broken Beam Resonance Experiment[2] (1959)
Doctoral advisorNorman Ramsey
Doctoral studentsDavid E. Pritchard[citation needed]
William Daniel Phillips[citation needed]
Julia Steinberger[1]

Daniel Kleppner, born 1932, is the Lester Wolfe Professor Emeritus of Physics at MIT and co-director of the MIT-Harvard Center for Ultracold Atoms. His areas of science include Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics, and his research interests include Experimental Atomic Physics, Laser Spectroscopy, and High Precision Measurements.[3] He is the winner of the 2005 Wolf Prize in Physics,[4] the 2007 Frederic Ives Medal, and the 2014 Benjamin Franklin Medal.[5] Prof. Kleppner has also been awarded the National Medal of Science (2006). Together with Robert J. Kolenkow, he authored a popular introductory mechanics textbook for advanced students. Kleppner graduated from Williams College with a B.A. in 1953, Cambridge University with a B.A. in 1955, and Harvard University with a Ph.D. in 1959.[6]



Kleppner's mother grew up in New Jersey. Kleppner refers to her as a "delightful woman in every sense - widely read, had a wonderful sense of humor, and, sort of made our home a happy place." Kleppner's father was Otto Kleppner, founder of an advertising agency.[7]

Early life[edit]

Daniel Kleppner was born on December 16, 1932, in New York City, New York, United States. He grew up in New York's suburbs, where he lived in a small town. Kleppner reflects upon his childhood as being "normal, but very happy."[8] Daniel Kleppner lived in a family with no scientific background, with one older brother and one younger sister. He and his older brother built various objects, such as electronic devices. Kleppner also learned woodworking, which soon became his lifelong hobby. In high school, Kleppner's interest in physics was rejuvenated by an excellent teacher. By the time Kleppner graduated, he already knew that he would be in the field of physics for the rest of his life.

Education and Career[edit]

Kleppner graduated from Williams College in 1953 in Williamstown, Massachusetts. He also attended Cambridge University in Cambridge, England, and Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he attended the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
In the 1950s, Kleppner became a physics doctoral student at Harvard University, where he worked under Norman Ramsey. Here, Kleppner took the concepts behind an ammonia maser and applied them to a hydrogen maser, which became his Ph.D. thesis. After more than twenty years of his career had passed, Kleppner found an interest in Rydberg atoms. His work in this area led to new research. Later, Kleppner became very interested in creating a Hydrogen Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC). In 1995, a group of researchers, including Kleppner's former students, made a BEC using Rubidium atoms. It was not until 1998 until Kleppner and Tom Greytak finally created a Hydrogen BEC.[9]

Later life[edit]

Currently, Daniel Kleppner is living in the United States with his wife. He also has 3 children, and 4 grandchildren.


Kleppner and Robert J. Kolenkow wrote An Introduction to Mechanics is 1973, but they edited it and published a second edition in 2013.

  • Kleppner, Daniel; Robert J. Kolenkow (1973). An Introduction to Mechanics. New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 978-0-07-035048-9.

Selected publications[edit]

  • Thomas J. Greytak; Daniel Kleppner (2001). "Bose-Einstein Condensation". McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science and Technology: 64–67.
  • T. C. Killian; D. G. Fried; C. L. Cesar; A. D. Polycn; T. J. Greytak; D. Kleppner (1996). "Doppler-Free Spectroscopy of Trapped Atomic Hydrogen". Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Atomic Physics.
  • C. L. Cesar; D. G. Fried; T. C. Killian; A. D. Polcyn; J. C. Sandberg; J. M. Doyle; I. A. Yu; T. J. Greytak; D. Kleppner (1995). "Two-Photon Spectroscopy of Trapped Atomic Hydrogen". Proceedings of the Symposium on Frequency Standards and Metrology, Woods Hole, MA.


  1. ^ Steinberger, Julia K. (2004). Progress towards high precision measurements on ultracold metastable hydrogen and trapping deuterium (PhD thesis). Massachusetts Institute of Technology. hdl:1721.1/28649. OCLC 655586822. Free to read
  2. ^ "Harvard Physics PhD Theses, 1954-1970" (PDF). Harvard University Department of Physics. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  3. ^ MIT Department of Physics
  4. ^ Kleppner awarded international Wolf Prize for physics | MIT News
  5. ^ https://archive.is/20131106155044/http://www.fi.edu/franklinawards/14/bf_physics.html. Archived from the original on November 6, 2013. Retrieved November 6, 2013. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ Daniel Kleppner Archived 2008-12-02 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Otto kleppner". The New York Times. 1982-08-05. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  8. ^ Daniel Kleppner | MIT150 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology 150th anniversary Archived 2014-07-14 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Daniel Kleppner | The Franklin Institute

External links[edit]