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NIST Physicist Awarded Service to America Medal

Dr. William D. Phillips, the first researcher from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to become a Nobel Laureate, has been awarded the 2006 Career Achievement Medal in the Service to America Medals program. The 2006 award winners were announced on September 27.

Phillips was cited for having "launched an entirely new subfield of atomic, molecular and optical physics," as well as being the first federal employee to win the Nobel Prize for Physics for work done as part of his official duties. Phillips shared the 1997 Nobel Prize in physics for his research using laser light to cool and trap atoms for precision spectroscopy and quantum physics experiments.

The Service to America Medals program is conducted by three magazines, Government Executive, the National Journal and The Atlantic, in association with the Partnership for Public Service. Read more at

Released September 28, 2006, Updated February 6, 2023