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David earned his AB in Physics and AM in History of Science from Harvard in 1994, and his Ph.D. in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1999, as a Hertz Fellow. During his Ph.D., David made the first demonstration of the Kondo effect in a semiconductor nanostructure. The Kondo effect is the interaction of a magnetic impurity atom with a surrounding metal host, and David's contribution enabled study of this classic system in a new and more tunable context, spurring a world-wide renaissance in this area. Also during this period, with colleagues at the MITRE Corporation he published an influential article examining the implications of novel nanoelectronic devices for computing. Following his Ph.D. he spent two years as a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows, then joined the faculty at Stanford University.David has received a number of distinctions. In 2002, he received the inaugural George E. Valley Prize of the American Physical Society. This prize is awarded every 2-3 years to one early-career individual, for his or her outstanding contribution to the knowledge of physics. Also in 2002, he received the University of Illinois's McMillan Award in condensed matter physics, the premier recognition for a young condensed matter physicist. More recently he received the 2006 Award for Initiatives in Research from the National Academy of Sciences (one awarded per year), and a Packard Fellowship. He has also received young investigator awards from the Navy, Air Force, Sloan Foundation, Research Corporation, National Science Foundation, and Hellman Faculty Scholars program.
How do electrons organize themselves on the nanoscale?We know that electrons are charged particles, and hence repel each other; yet in common metals like copper billions of electrons have plenty of room to maneuver and seem to move independently, taking no notice of each other. Professor Goldhaber-Gordon studies how electrons behave when they are instead confined to tiny structures, such as wires only tens of atoms wide. When constrained this way, electrons cannot easily avoid each other, and interactions strongly affect their organization and flow. The Goldhaber-Gordon group uses advanced fabrication techniques to confine electrons to semiconductor nanostructures, to extend our understanding of quantum mechanics to interacting particles, and to provide the basic science that will shape possible designs for future transistors and energy conversion technologies. The Goldhaber-Gordon group makes measurements using cryogenics, precision electrical measurements, and novel scanning probe techniques that allow direct spatial mapping of electron organization and flow. For some of their measurements of exotic quantum states, they cool electrons to a fiftieth of a degree above absolute zero, the world record for electrons in semiconductor nanostructures.