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Daniel Kleppner

Daniel Kleppner
Born (1932-12-16) December 16, 1932
New York
Residence United States
Nationality American
Fields Physics
Institutions MIT
Alma mater Harvard
Doctoral advisor Norman Ramsey
Doctoral students David E. Pritchard
Known for Atomic physics
Notable awards Lilienfeld Prize (1991)
Oersted Medal (1997)
Wolf Prize in Physics (2005)
National Medal of Science (2006)
Franklin Institute Award (2014)
Spouse Beatrice Kleppner

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.[1] He is the winner of the 2005 Wolf Prize in Physics,[2] the 2007 Frederic Ives Medal, and the 2014 Benjamin Franklin Medal.[3] 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.[4]


  • Biography 1
    • Parents 1.1
    • Early Life 1.2
    • Education and Career 1.3
    • Later Life 1.4
  • Books 2
  • Selected publications 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5



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.[5]

Early Life

Daniel Kleppner was born on December 16, 1932, in New York City, New York, USA. 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."[6] 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

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.[7]

Later Life

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.  

Selected publications

  • Thomas J. Greytak and Daniel Kleppner (2001). "Bose-Einstein Condensation". McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science and Technology: 64–67. 
  • D. G. Fried, T. C. Killian, L. Willmann, D. Landhuis, S. C. Moss, D. Kleppner, and T. J. Greytak, (1998). "Bose-Einstein Condensation of Atomic Hydrogen". PRL 81 (18): 3811.  
  • T. C. Killian, D. G. Fried, L. Willmann, D. Landhuis, S. C. Moss, T. J. Greytak, and D. Kleppner (1998). "Cold Collision Frequency Shift of the 1S-2S Transition in Hydrogen". PRL 81 (18): 3807.  
  • C. L. Cesar, D. G. Fried, T. C. Killian, A. D. Polcyn, J. C. Sandberg, I. A. Yu, T. J. Greytak, and D. Kleppner (1996). "Two-Photon Spectroscopy of Trapped Atomic Hydrogen". PRL 77 (2): 255.  
  • 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, and D. Kleppner (1995). "Two-Photon Spectroscopy of Trapped Atomic Hydrogen". Proceedings of the Symposium on Frequency Standards and Metrology, Woods Hole, MA. 


  1. ^ MIT Department of Physics
  2. ^ Kleppner awarded international Wolf Prize for physics | MIT News
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Daniel Kleppner
  5. ^ "Otto kleppner". The New York Times. 1982-08-05.  
  6. ^ Daniel Kleppner | MIT150 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology 150th anniversary
  7. ^ Daniel Kleppner | The Franklin Institute

External links

  • Faculty page at MIT
  • Interview with Daniel Kleppner (Video)
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