Norman Foster Ramsey


Norman Foster Ramsey, Jr (1935), born 27 August 1915, was a physicist and Nobel laureate.

He studied at Columbia University and at Clare College as a Kellett Fellow. During the Second World War, he worked for the MIT Radiation Laboratory and the National Defense Research Committee, and was an expert consultant to the Secretary of War. He served on the Manhattan Project and was Group Leader at the Los Alamos Laboratory of Atomic Energy.

In 1947 Norman joined Harvard University as Higgins Professor of Physics and served for a year (1958–9) as Science Adviser to NATO. From 1971 until his death in 2011, he was Senior Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows. He was also a Fellow of the American Physics Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. His many academic distinctions include the Presidential Certificate of Merit (1947), the Compton Award of the American Institute of Physics (1985), the National Medal of Science (1988), the Einstein Medal (1993), and honorary degrees from Cambridge and Oxford universities. 

He was awarded the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physics for the invention of the separated oscillatory field method, which had important applications in the construction of atomic clocks, and was elected to an Honorary Fellowship of Clare College in the same year.