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William Phillips is a fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute of the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. In 1997, he was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for for development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light, along with Steven Chu and Claude Cohen-Tannoudji. His work on laser cooling has been instrumental in making atomic clocks more reliable. Among other awards, Phillips has received the 1996 Albert A. Michelson Medal (Franklin Institute) for his experimental demonstrations of laser cooling and atom trapping.