A recent news confirmed sad demise of Robert C. Richardson, on Tuesday in Ithaca, N. Y. He died at the age of 75 after suffering from complications related to a heart attack.
He has shared the 1996 Nobel Prize for Physics with his former PhD student Douglas Osheroff and Cornell's David Lee, as they jointly revealed that helium-3 has the tendency to become a superfluid at extremely low temperatures. It is believed that this revelation paved way for a number of researches in multiple scientific problems. Even the Nobel Prize committee recognized the experiment as a major a breakthrough in basic physics.
If previous reports are to be believed, helium-4, which is used to fill balloons and airships, transforms into a superfluid at minus 456 degrees Fahrenheit. However, having one extra neutron made helium-4 showing different properties as a superfluid when it was put through very low temperature.
Born on June 26, 1937, in Washington, Robert Coleman Richardson attended Washington-Lee High School in Arlington. He had done his bachelor's degree in physics at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. "The idea of `advanced placement' had not yet been invented. I did not take a calculus course until my second year of college. The biology and physics courses were very old-fashioned", he said, in his autobiography for the Nobel Prize.
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