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John Lewis Hall

Born August 21, 1934 (1934-08-21) (age 75)
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
Nationality United States
Fields Physics
Institutions University of Colorado, JILA, NIST
Alma mater Carnegie Institute of Technology
Known for Optical frequency comb
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Physics (2005)

John Lewis “Jan” Hall (born August 21, 1934) is an American physicist, and Nobel laureate in physics. He shared one half of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics with Theodor W. Hänsch for his work in precision spectroscopy.



Born in Denver, Colorado, Hall holds three degrees from Carnegie Institute of Technology, a B.S. in 1956, an M.S. in 1958, and a Ph.D. in 1961. He completed his postdoctoral studies at the Department of Commerce's National Bureau of Standards, now the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), where he remained from 1962 until his retirement in 2004. He has lectured at the University of Colorado at Boulder since 1967.

Hall is currently a NIST Senior Fellow, Emeritus and remains a Fellow at JILA, formerly the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics, and Lecturer at the CU Boulder Physics Department. JILA is a research institute managed jointly by CU Boulder and NIST.

Hall's Nobel prize was awarded for his work on laser-based precision spectroscopy, and the optical frequency comb technique. The other half of the prize was awarded to Roy J. Glauber.

Hall has received many other honors for his pioneering work, including the Optical Society of America's Max Born Award "for pioneering the field of stable lasers, including their applications in fundamental physics and, most recently, in the stabilization of femtosecond lasers to provide dramatic advances in optical frequency metrology."

Honours and awards

  • National Carbon Company Fellow in Physics, 1957-1961
  • Department of Commerce Gold Medal, 1969
  • Samuel W. Stratton Award, 1971
  • Department of Commerce Gold Medal, 1974 (group awards)
  • IR-100: Laser stabilizer selected as one of “100 best new products of the year,” 1975
  • IR-100: Laser wavelength meter (“Lambdameter”) selected as one of “100 best new products of the year,” 1977
  • E. U. Condon Award, 1979
  • Charles Hard Townes Award of the Optical Society of America, 1984, jointly with V. P. Chebotayev (Academy of Sciences, USSR)
  • Davisson-Germer Prize of the American Physical Society, 1988
  • Docteur Honoris Causa de l’Universite Paris Nord, 1989
  • Frederic Ives Medal of the Optical Society of America, 1991
  • Arthur L. Shawlow Prize of the American Physical Society, 1993
  • Allen V. Astin Measurement Science Award, 2000
  • Max Born Award of the Optical Society of America, 2002
  • Presidential Rank Award from the Office of Personnel Management, 2002
  • Department of Commerce Gold Medal, 2002 (group awards)
  • I. I. Rabi Prize of the IEEE Society for Ultrasonic, FerroElectricity, and Frequency Control, 2004
  • Légion d’Honneur Membership, 2004
  • Nobel Prize in Physics, 2005
  • Doctor of Science, honoris causa, University of Glasgow, 2007


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