Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist. He was honored in 1989 for developing the separated oscillatory field method of investigating atomic structure, a discovery that led to the atomic clock and to the M.R.I. technology used in medical diagnostics. Raised in the itinerant life of an 'Army brat', he graduated from high school at 15 then at Columbia University earned his undergraduate degree in 1935 and his Ph.D. in 1940. While at Columbia he did follow-up work on his teacher Dr. Isidor Rabi's efforts to map mollecular structure by moving atoms rapidly thru magnetic fields; during the war he worked at the M.I.T. Radiation Laboratory and begining in 1943 was at Los Alamos, New Mexico, as part of the Manhattan Project. After the conflict Dr. Ramsey was instrumental in founding the Brookhaven Laboratory on Long Island and the Fermi National Research Laboratory of Batavia, Illinois; in 1947 he accepted a professorship at Harvard begining an association of more than 60 years and in 1949 commenced the study that would lead to his Nobel Prize. His technique, called the "Ramsey Method" by everybody but him, would result in the 1967 rolling out of the atomic clock and the ever expanding uses for the M.R.I. In 1960 he developed a second type of atomic clock called the hydrogen maser which forms the basis for today's G.P.S. systems. Dr. Ramsey reached age mandated retirement in 1986 but remained at Harvard in Emeritus status well into his 90s, his final project involving research into the physical shape of neutrons. An enthusiastic skiier, he tackled advanced slopes all over the world even at an advanced age. In addition to his Nobel Prize his list of awards and honorary degrees is massive. Discussing the fact that he did not at first perceive the significance of his atomic clock he said: "I didn't even know there was a problem about clocks initially. My wristwatch was pretty good".
Bio by: Bob Hufford