Robert C. Richardson

Floyd R. Newman Professor of Physics

638 Clark Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca NY 14853

(607) 255-6423

B.S., 1958, Physics, Virginia Polytechnic Institute. M.S., 1960, Physics, Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Ph.D., 1966, Physics, Duke University. Second Lieutenant, US Army, 1959-60. Research Associate, Cornell University, 1966-67. Assistant Professor, Physics, Cornell University, 1968-71. Associate Professor, Physics, Cornell University, 1972-74. Professor, Physics, Cornell University, 1975-86. F.R. Newman Professor of Physics, Cornell University, 1987-present. Visiting Scientist, Bell Laboratories, 1984. Director of Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics, Cornell University, 1990-1996. Vice Provost for Research, Cornell University, 1998-2007. Senior Science Advisor to the President and Provost, Cornell University, 2007-2009. Senior Vice Provost for Research Emeritus, Cornell University, 2008-present. Guggenheim Fellowship, 1975-76; 1982-83. Eight Simon Memorial Prize [British Physical Society], 1976 (with D.D. Osheroff and D.M. Lee). Buckley Prize [American Physical Society] , 1981 (with D.D. Osheroff and D.M. Lee). Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1981. Fellow, American Physical Society, 1983. Member, National Academy of Sciences, 1986. Foreign Member, Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, 1993. Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1995. Nobel Prize in Physics, 1996 (shared with D.M. Lee and D.D. Osheroff). Commendation, Virginia General Assembly, 1998. Honorary Doctor of Science Degree, Ohio State University, 2000. Member, American Philosophical Society, 2001. Distinguished Graduate School Alumnus Award, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 2003. Honorary Doctor of Science Degree, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2009.

Research Areas
Experimental low temperature physics, especially the properties of liquids and solids at sub-millikelvin temperatures

Current Research

Professor Richardson is currently focused on teaching and is not maintaining an active research group at this time.

  • Spotlight

    Maxim Perelstein
    Finding the mechanism responsible for breaking electroweak symmetry is a current focus of Maxim Perelstein, assistant professor of physics. He also investigates topics in theoretical cosmology, particularly theoretical models for dark energy, dark... read more ||


    Matt Farrar is a graduate student working with Professor Chris Schaffer in the Biomedical Engineering Department to develop novel optical tools for studying neuropathologies of the brain and spinal cord.  “The ability to study the dynamics of... read more



    Tarek Anous, a formerundergraduate student, who worked at the Wilson Lab with Professor Rich Galik on instrumentation for the International Linear Collider (ILC). The ILC is a proposed next-generation particle accelerator with a target date of 2015 to begin operation. Tarek helped construct a small detector that uses cosmic rays in order to simulate the real detector that will be used in the ILC. Cosmic rays hit the scintillator (a plastic rod) and produce photons whose signals ... read more ||


    Dionysios Anninos was recently an undergraduate physics major at Cornell. "The range of possibilities offered at Cornell is overwhelming. One can end up studying the most disparate fields and end up well versed in them. Personally, I tried to exploit this feature to the maximum. I ended up learning a lot of great physics by sampling a large set of physics courses offered at a unique level, as well as exploring economics and mathematics." "Furthermore, through its advanced courses and research opportunities, Cornell offers the student a unique ... read more ||


    Wui Ip Professor Carl Franck and student Wui Ip (who is at Cornell as part of the NSF's Research Experiences for Undergraduates program) are studying how cells interact and signal each other to form complicated structures. For example, cells communicate when conditions are good, and they exchange growth factors. Franck and Ip are focusing on the question "Why do cells need company to grow?" It is well known that a minimum culture is needed to grow cells. What determines that ... read more ||


    Peter Wittich is an assistant professor in LEPP. He collaborates with assistant professor Julia Thom's research group. They are part of an international collaboration preparing the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment that will operate at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) scheduled to begin operation in 2007 in Geneva, Switzerland. Professor Wittich explains that "We're trying to understand fundamental questions such as 'What is the nature of space-time?' and 'Where does mass come from?' We do this by smashing protons together and looking at the very small particles that come out ... read more ||


    Heng Li is a graduate student working with professor Julia Thom's research group at LEPP. The group is part of an international collaboration preparing the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment that will operate at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) scheduled to begin... read more