Claude Cohen-Tannoudji

Claude Cohen- Tannoudji ( born April 1, 1933, Constantine, Algeria ) is a French physicist. For the cool and trap atoms with laser light, he received together with Steven Chu and William D. Phillips the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics.


Cohen- Tannoudji comes from a Jewish family who lived in the 16th century in Algeria, since 1970 as a French citizen. 1953 to 1957 he studied at the École normale supérieure first mathematics, turned, however, after the lectures of the Nobel laureate Alfred Kastler of physics. In 1957 he completed his studies with a diploma ( Agrégation ) and produced 28 months military service. Since 1960 he worked as a researcher for the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS ). In 1962 he received his doctorate. Since 1962 he has taught at the University of Paris IV 1973 he became a professor at the Collège de France, where he holds the chair for Atomic and Molecular Physics.

In 1976 he was Loeb Lecturer at Harvard and in 1988 Lorentz professor at the University of Leiden.


The 1977 published two-volume monograph Méchanique Quantique who wrote Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, Bernard Diu and Franck, together with Laloë heard still the standard works in the field of quantum mechanics.

With Steven Chu, William D. Phillips developed Cohen Tannoudji a method atoms can be cooled with by the atom beam propagating along the axis of an alternating magnetic field. With this technique, the atom beam is decelerated and the atoms can be captured in a trap. Applications of this method in the development of precise atomic clocks; they can also be used for precise location measurement, and in space navigation.

Rates and Memberships

He is a foreign member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences and member of the Academia Europaea, the Royal Belgian Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences in Allahabad, the Indian Academy of Sciences in Bangalore, the Australian Academy of Sciences, the Indian Science Academy in Bangalore, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Brazilian Academy of Sciences. Cohen- Tannoudji is more honorary doctorates ( Uppsala University, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Bar - Ilan University, University of Sussex, Free University of Brussels, University of Recife, University of Liège, Peking University, China, Tel Aviv University, City University of Hong Kong, University of Strathclyde, Ben- Gurion University of the Negev ).

He is an honorary member of the Optical Society of America and the European Physical Society. Cohen- Tannoudji is a Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour.

He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. In 1981 he became a member of the Academie des Sciences.


  • With Bernard Diu, Franck Laloë: Quantum Mechanics, 2 volumes, 2nd edition. De Gruyter, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-11-016458-2 French original first Herman, Paris 1973