Leon N. Cooper
|Born||February 28, 1930|
Bronx, New York, U.S.
|Alma mater||Columbia University (BA 1951, MA 1953, PhD 1954)|
|Known for||Cooper pairs|
|Awards||John Jay Award (1985)|
Nobel Prize in Physics (1972)
Comstock Prize in Physics (1968)
|Doctoral advisor||Robert Serber|
Leon N. Cooper (born February 28, 1930) is an American physicist and Nobel Prize laureate who, with John Bardeen and John Robert Schrieffer, developed the BCS theory of superconductivity. His name is also associated with the Cooper pair and co-developer of the BCM theory of synaptic plasticity.
Cooper's mother is Jewish. Cooper graduated from the Bronx High School of Science in 1947 and received a BA in 1951, MA in 1953, and PhD in 1954 from Columbia University. He spent a year at the Institute for Advanced Study and taught at the University of Illinois and Ohio State University before coming to Brown University in 1958. He has been the Thomas J. Watson Sr. Professor of Science at Brown since 1974, and director of the Institute for Brain and Neural Systems which he founded in 1973. Along with colleague Charles Elbaum, he founded the tech company Nestor, dedicated to finding commercial applications for artificial neural networks. Nestor, along with Intel, developed the Ni1000 neural network computer chip in 1994.
In 1969 Cooper married Kay Allard. They have two children.
He has carried out research at various institutions including the Institute for Advanced Study and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland.
The character Sheldon Cooper, featured in the CBS comedy The Big Bang Theory, is named in part after Leon Cooper.
Cooper is the author of Science and Human Experience – a collection of essays, including previously unpublished material, on issues such as consciousness and the structure of space. (Cambridge University Press, 2014).
Cooper is the author of an unconventional liberal-arts physics textbook, originally An Introduction to the Meaning and Structure of Physics (Harper and Row, 1968) and still in print in a somewhat condensed form as Physics: Structure and Meaning (Lebanon: New Hampshire, University Press of New England, 1992).