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- The atoms become like a moth, seeking out the region of higher laser intensity.
- explaining how atoms are cooled, as quoted by James Gleick in Lasers slow atom for scrutiny, The New York Times, July 13, 1986.
- I'm the least-educated person in my immediate family. My two other brothers have multiple advanced degrees, and I only have one. [...] Actually, now that I've got a Nobel Prize, I feel equal.
- I called my mother up when they announced the Nobel Prize, waiting until 7 in the morning. She said, “That’s nice — and when are you going to see me next?”
- NY Times, April 16, 2009