David Wineland received a B.A. degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1965 and a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1970. Following a postdoctoral position at the University of Washington in Seattle, he joined the Time and Frequency Division of NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) in Boulder, Colorado, from 1975 to 2017, where he was a group leader and NIST Fellow. He is now a Philip H. Knight Distinguished Research Chair and Research Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Oregon in Eugene. Starting with graduate school, a long-term goal of his work has been to increase the precision of atomic spectroscopy, the measurement of the frequencies of atoms’ characteristic vibrations. This research has applications to making better atomic clocks and has led to experiments that enable precise control of atomic energy levels and atomic motion. Such control can be applied to metrology whose precision is limited only by the constraints of quantum mechanics and to demonstrations of the basic building blocks of a quantum computer. For this work, he shared the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics with Serge Haroche, Collège de France, Paris.

Research Interests

Quantum information/computation with trapped atomic ions.

Membership Type


Election Year


Primary Section

Section 13: Physics