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Douglas Dean Osheroff

Osheroff, Douglas Dean, 1945–, American physicist, b. Aberdeen, Wash., Ph.D. Cornell, 1973. He was a professor at Cornell from 1973 to 1987, when he joined the faculty at Stanford. Osheroff was also a researcher at Bell Labs from 1973 to 1982. He shared the 1996 Nobel Prize in Physics with David Lee and Robert Richardson for their discovery that a rare isotope of helium with only one neutron, known as helium-3, exhibits superfluidity at extremely low temperatures. The research, which was conducted in the early 1970s at Cornell, showed that helium-3 becomes superfluid at a temperature much lower than the normal helium isotope, helium-4, and that the key to the transition is the magnetic behavior of helium-3 rather than its hydrodynamics. The work was considered a breakthrough in low-temperature physics. Osheroff served on the board that investigated the breakup (2003) of the space shuttle Columbia during reentry.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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