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October 11, 2002

French Jew wins Nobel Prize
for cooling and trapping atoms

- Frenchman Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, who won the 1997 Nobel Prize in physics with two American researchers, is delighted with the honor, but embarrassed by the bombardment of calls from the media and well-wishers.

Cohen-Tannoudji is a professor at the prestigious College de France and a member of France's Academy of Sciences.

He is the third Jew to receive a 1997 Nobel Prize. Stanford University Professor Myron Scholes was named a co-recipient of the the Nobel Prize for economics, and Stanley Prusiner, a professor at the University of California at San Francisco, received the Nobel Prize in medicine.

Cohen-Tannoudji shared the award with Steven Chu of Stanford University and William Phillips of Maryland's National Institute of Standards and Technology for developing methods to cool and trap atoms with lasers -- work that in the future may be applied to medicine and space-related industries.

``Of course I'm immensely happy, but I haven't had a minute to myself. After all, what I love to do is research and teach,'' Cohen- Tannoudji, 61, said.

``In the United States, where there are many Nobel laureates, they are celebrated, but then very quickly they return to being physicists, chemists and biologists, like everyone else.

``Here, I wish there wasn't this sudden focus on me,'' he added.

Cohen-Tannoudji was born in 1933 in Algeria, then a French colonial possession.