Nobel Laureate Bill Phillips stopped by Big Think today to talk about his work in laser cooling, which won him the Nobel Prize in 1997 and is the reason that today’s atomic clocks run on time.
Phillips spoke about his earliest days as a six-year-old scientist, when he would gather liquids from around the house and mix them together to conduct chemical experiments. It was those early experiments which led him to sustain a childlike wonder throughout the rest of his life—a necessary personality trait for any scientist to have, he says. Phillips, also a man of faith, spoke briefly about the tension between religion and science, and why science doesn’t make belief in God obsolete. For a physicist working with the most basic of the earth’s particles, you wonder if he believes that God intervenes in the workings of nature.