When I was a graduate student, my professor drew a dot on the blackboard and said, `Here's an electron,' but nobody had ever isolated one….
German-born American physicist Dehmelt joined the UW Department of Physics in 1955. In 1973, Dehmelt and his graduate students used an electromagnetic trap to capture a single electron, allowing observation and measurement of the particle’s key properties. They recorded measurements of unprecedented precision, to an accuracy of four parts in a trillion. Able to hold individual electrons, positrons, and other sub-atomic particles trapped for months, Dehmelt and his team were able to isolate a single barium ion, visible as a tiny blue-white star, and photograph it.
Dr. Dehmelt continued his distinguished work on ion traps at UW until his 2002 retirement. Aside from the Nobel Prize, he has been honored with every possible award in his field, including the National Medal of Science. Through this research, the invisible world has been made visible, making it possible to see into the very heart of matter.