Carl Edwin Wieman was born in Corvallis, Oregon, in 1951. He earned his B.S. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Ph.D. in Physcis from Stanford University. Following his graduation in 1977, he served as an Assistant Research Scienstist at the University of Michigan, and became an Associate Professor in 1984. In 1987, he moved to the University of Colorado at Boulder where he was appointed Professor then Distinguished Professor of Physics, and served from 1993 to 1995 as Chairman of JILA, a leading center for the study of atomic and molecular physics. In 1995 Professor Wieman and Professor Eric Cornell made history by their stunning success in producing the first true Bose-Einstein Condensate, a new form of matter that occurs at just a few hundred billionths of the absolute zero. This discovery, which earned them worldwide recognition, was achieved by cooling rubidium-87 atoms to an incredibly low temperature, using lasers, then trapping and holding these atoms virtually motionless with the aid of magnetic traps of the right kind of field, and evaporative cooling techniques.
In addition to the King Faisal and Nobel prizes, Weiman was awarded the E. O. Lawrence Prize, R. W. Wood Prize, Davisson-Germer Prize, Schawlow Prize for Laser Science, Albert Einstein Medal, Lorentz Medal, Fritz-London Prize, Newcomb-Cleveland Prize (AAAS), Richtmyer Memorial Prize, Benjamin Franklin Medal and Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Prize. He was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Science by the University of Michigan. Professor Wieman is a Fellow of JILA, the US National Academy of Sciences, the Australian Academy of Sciences, the American Physical Scoiety, the American Optical Physics Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers.
In recent years, Professor Weiman became deeply involved in trying to improve science education using a pedagogal system known as “peer instruction.” In 2004, he was named the United States Professor of the Year among all US doctorate and research universities “in recognition of his unwavering dedication to undergraduate teaching,” and in 2007, he was awarded the Oersted Medal which recognizes outstanding contributions to the teaching of physics.
Professor Wieman joined the University of British Columbia, where he is leading a major science education initiative, while assigning 20% of his time for working at the University of Colorado. In Setember 2010, Professor Wiemann was unanimously confirmed as the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy Associate Director of Science.
Professor Carl E. Wieman and Prpfessor Eric A.Cornell of the University of Colorado and the National Institute for Standards and Technology. They have been awarded the 1997 King Faisal Prize in Science for having brilliantly succeeded in achieving a Bose-Einstein condensate by combining laser and evaporative cooling of matter in new atomic traps down to a record temperature of 170 nano kelvins. (A nano-Kelvin is a billionth of a Kelvin).