Nobel Prize Winner Speaks at Colorado State University

Note to Editors: Eric Cornell will be available for interviews 9-10 a.m. Oct. 7. To arrange an interview, contact Jim Beers at (970) 491-6401 or For detailed parking information, visit

Colorado State University’s Department of Physics welcomes Nobel Prize winner Eric Cornell at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 9 at the Edna Rizley Griffin Concert Hall in the University Center for the Arts, 1400 Remington St., Fort Collins. Cornell’s address, "Stone Cold Physics," is part of the Galeener Lecture series.

In 2001, Cornell, along with Carl Wieman and Wolfgang Ketterle, won the Nobel Prize in Physics for the experimental discovery of Bose-Einstein condensation – a new form of matter that exists only at the lowest temperatures in the universe. Cornell, who was just 39 years old at the time, is a professor at the University of Colorado JILA Lab and a physicist with the U.S Department of Commerce National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Cornell’s personal story is equally compelling. In October 2004, his left arm and shoulder were amputated to stop the spread of necrotizing fasciitis, sometimes referred to as "flesh-eating disease." He was discharged from the hospital in mid-December, having recovered from the infection, and returned to work part time in April 2005.  

Since receiving the Nobel Prize, Cornell has turned his attention to another fundamental question in physics, the quest to determine whether the electron, one of the best known particles in physics, is slightly distorted in shape.

Cornell is the latest in a string of Nobel Prize winners who have spoken at the Galeener Lecture, named for Frank Galeener, a Colorado State physics professor who died in 1992. Robert Richardson, who won a Nobel in 1996 for the discovery of super fluid helium, spoke at Colorado State in 1998. William Phillips and Steven Chu shared the 1997 Nobel in Physics for the development of laser methods for cooling and trapping atoms. Phillips delivered the Galeener Lecture in 2000, while Chu spoke in 2002.

"We always look for a speaker who is a world-class scientist and a good communicator," said Steve Lundeen, physics professor at Colorado State and chairman of the Galeener committee. Lundeen said that Cornell’s address on ultra-cold atoms will be directed toward a general audience.