Norman Ramsey, Nobel Prize-winning physicist, dies at 96

norman-ramsey-daniel-kleppner.jpgNorman Ramsey (pictured, right, inset), who in 1989 shared the Nobel Prize in physics for his work with atomic energy levels that led to the creation of the atomic clock and MRI machines, died in his sleep Monday (Nov. 7) at a nursing home, his wife Ellie tells the AP. He was 96 years old.

Ramsey, who was a professor emeritus of physics at Harvard, shared the Nobel Prize with Hans Dehmelt and Wolfgang Paul. When he won the prize in 1989, he told the AP at the time that he has always been interested in science because "it's fun."

"Basically, I'm interested in all the laws of nature," Ramsey said.

Daniel Kleppner (pictured, right), Ramsey's graduate assistant at Harvard in the 1940s, says of Ramsey, "He was exuberant, outgoing, friendly, incredibly energetic and inquisitive. But above all, he had tremendous scientific integrity and honesty."

His wife also tells the AP that he was quite the adventurer. Ramsey had a lifelong love of skiing that he passed on to his children and grandchildren, and even took up surfing in his 50s.

Ramsey is survived by his wife Ellie, who is actually his second wife; six children adn stepchildren; eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his first wife Elinor, who died in 1983. Funeral services will be private, but a memorial service is being planned at Harvard.

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