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Nobel Laureate to Discuss How Advances in Science Are Made

Nobel Laureate to Discuss How Advances in Science Are Made

Talk at UCR by Stanford University’s Douglas Osheroff scheduled for Jan. 29

(January 26, 2009)

Nobel laureate Douglas D. Osheroff. Photo credit: Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News Service.Enlarge

Nobel laureate Douglas D. Osheroff. Photo credit: Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News Service.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Douglas D. Osheroff, who shared the 1996 Nobel Prize in physics with two other researchers, will give a lecture at UC Riverside on how advances are made in science.

The lecture, scheduled for 3:40 p.m., Jan. 29, 2009, will take place in Room 138, Engineering Building II.

“The discoveries that most influence the way we think about nature seldom can be anticipated, and frequently the applications for new technologies developed to probe a specific characteristic of nature are also seldom clear, even to the inventors of these technologies,” Osheroff said. “One thing is most clear: Seldom are such advances made by individuals alone. Rather, they result from the progress of the scientific community – asking questions, developing new technologies to answer those questions, and sharing results and ideas with others.”

In his talk, Osheroff will illustrate some research strategies that are known to increase the probability of making a discovery. He will do so in the context of many well known discoveries, including his own.

A professor of physics and applied physics at Stanford University, Osheroff specializes in ultra-low temperature physics and is a leader in the study of superfluidity and of the properties of thin superconducting films.

He won the Nobel Prize with Cornell University’s David M. Lee and Robert C. Richardson for discovering superfluidity in helium-3, a form of helium that makes up only one millionth of the total quantity of helium. The three researchers discovered that helium-3 can be made superfluid at a temperature only about two thousandths of a degree above absolute zero.

“Dr. Osheroff's Nobel-winning research led to a deeper understanding of collective states of matter, and found a state of matter with very unusual properties due to quantum effects, which has subsequently impacted many branches of physics,” said UCR’s Chandra Varma, a distinguished professor of physics, who invited Osheroff to campus.

Besides the Nobel Prize, Osheroff has received numerous other awards and honors, including the Institute of Physics Sir Francis Simon Memorial Prize and the Oliver E. Buckley Solid State Physics Prize (American Physical Society). A member of the National Academy of Sciences, he was named a MacArthur Fellow. He also is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

During his visit to UCR, Osheroff also will discuss some common problems of interest in physics research with Varma and some other faculty members in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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