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Daniel Kleppner
Born (1932-12-16) December 16, 1932 (age 91)
Alma materWilliams College (B.A.)
University of Cambridge
Harvard University (Ph.D.)
Known forAMO physics
SpouseBeatrice Spencer Kleppner
AwardsLilienfeld Prize (1991)
MIT Killian Award (1995-96)
Oersted Medal (1997)
Wolf Prize in Physics (2005)
National Medal of Science (2006)
Frederic Ives Medal (2007)
Franklin Institute Award (2014)
APS Medal for Exceptional
Achievement in Research
Scientific career
ThesisThe Broken Beam Resonance Experiment[1] (1959)
Doctoral advisorNorman Ramsey
Doctoral studentsDavid E. Pritchard[citation needed]
William Daniel Phillips[citation needed]
Julia Steinberger[2]

Daniel Kleppner, born 1932, is the Lester Wolfe Professor Emeritus of Physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and co-founder 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]

Together with Robert J. Kolenkow, he authored a popular textbook An Introduction to Mechanics for advanced students.[4]



Kleppner's father was Otto Kleppner, founder of an advertising agency.[5]

Education and career

Kleppner graduated from Williams College with a B.A. in 1953 in Williamstown, Massachusetts. He also attended Cambridge University in England with a B.A. in 1955, and Harvard University, he attended the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, with a Ph.D. in 1959.[6]

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. Kleppner did important research into Rydberg atoms.[7]

Later he became 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 that Kleppner and Tom Greytak finally created a hydrogen BEC.[8]

Honors and awards

Kleppner has been the recipient of many awards including

Within MIT he won the institute's prestigious James R. Killian, Jr. Faculty Achievement Award, conferring him the title of Killian Award Lecturer[12] for 1995-1996.[13]

He was elected the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1986,[14] the French Academy of Sciences in 2004,[15] and the American Philosophical Society in 2007.[16]


Kleppner and Robert J. Kolenkow wrote An Introduction to Mechanics in 1973. 40 years later, Kleppner and Kolenkow returned to edit and publish a second edition in 2013.

Kleppner and his thesis adviser (and Nobel laureate) Norman Ramsey wrote the text Quick Calculus, joined for the 3rd edition by MIT professor Peter Dourmashkin:

Selected publications


  1. ^ "Harvard Physics PhD Theses, 1954-1970" (PDF). Harvard University Department of Physics. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 May 2014. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  2. ^ Julia Steinberger (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 access icon
  3. ^ MIT Department of Physics
  4. ^ "13 BOOK Recommendations on SPECIAL RELATIVITY!!". YouTube. For the Love of Physics. May 25, 2022. review of An Introduction to Mechanics by Kleppner & Kolenkow, 4:08 to 6:46 in video
  5. ^ "Otto Kleppner". The New York Times. 1982-08-05. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  6. ^ Daniel Kleppner Archived 2008-12-02 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Daniel Kleppner | MIT150 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology 150th anniversary Archived 2014-07-14 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Daniel Kleppner | The Franklin Institute". Archived from the original on 2014-08-13. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
  9. ^ Kleppner awarded international Wolf Prize for physics | MIT News
  10. ^ "Daniel Kleppner". 2014 Franklin Institute Awards. Archived from the original on November 6, 2013. Retrieved November 6, 2013.
  11. ^ "2017 APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research". September 21, 2016. Retrieved 9 July 2023.
  12. ^ "About | MIT Killian Lectures". Retrieved 10 July 2023.
  13. ^ "Kleppner to give Killian Lecture today". MIT News | Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 13 March 1996. Retrieved 10 July 2023.
  14. ^ "Daniel Kleppner". American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 2021-08-25.
  15. ^ "Daniel Kleppner | Liste des membres de l'Académie des sciences / K | Listes par ordre alphabétique | Listes des membres | Membres | Nous connaître". Retrieved 2021-08-25.
  16. ^ "APS Member History". Retrieved 2021-08-25.
  17. ^ "An Introduction to Mechanics | General and classical physics". Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 2022-06-03.
  18. ^ "An Introduction to Mechanics | General and classical physics". Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 2022-06-03.