American Philosophical Society
Member History

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106. Physics[X]
1Name:  Dr. Norman F. Ramsey
 Institution:  Harvard University
 Year Elected:  1958
 Class:  1. Mathematical and Physical Sciences
 Subdivision:  106. Physics
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Deceased
 Birth Date:  1915
 Death Date:  November 4, 2011
Norman F. Ramsey won the Nobel Prize in 1989 for his work on the hydrogen maser and the atomic clock, which underpins the Global Positioning System and many other important technologies. He did his Ph.D. work under I.I. Rabi at Columbia University, and during WWII he worked on the Manhattan Project and at the MIT Radiation Lab on the development of radar. Dr. Ramsey then returned to Columbia as a professor, working with Rabi and others on molecular beam research. Together with Rabi, he laid the groundwork for the establishment of Brookhaven National Laboratory, and in 1946 he became the first head of its physics department. A year later, he accepted a professorship at Harvard University and remained at Harvard, becoming Higgins Professor of Physics Emeritus in 1986 although he continued his work through the early 90s. Dr. Ramsey was recognized with numerous prestigious research awards as well as the Oersted Medal in recognition of his contributions to physics and math teaching. A former Science Advisor to NATO, he has been honored with membership in the American Physical Society and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Dr. Ramsey died on November 4, 2011, at the age of 96 in Wayland, Massachusetts.
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