Richardson and Lee cool a sample of 3He to within a few thousandths of a degree above absolute zero. Osheroff, a graduate student, notices small jumps in the internal pressure. This turns out to be a phase transition to superfluidity. Superfluidity makes a liquid behave oddly, operating under the rules of quantum mechanics instead of classical physics. These phase transitions in 3He have since been used to investigate the notion of cosmic strings, which have relevance for the Big Bang theory.
Robert Richardson enters the Washington-Lee High School. He recalls the science courses here being old fashioned.
Robert Richardson remains at Duke University for a year after his thesis to work as research associate. In the Spring of 1966 the Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics invites Richardson to work with Dave Lee and John Reppy on very low temperature helium research.
Robert Richardson is born in Washington D.C. to Robert Franklin Richardson, an electrical lineman, and Lois Price.
Robert Richardson earns his MS in Physics working on the measurement of the lifetime of photo-excited carriers in germanium. In this period he learns to build a great deal of equipment with his own hands.
Richardson enters the Walter Reed School to attend his fourth grade. Since this school is overcrowded, the fourth and fifth grades meet in the same room with the same teacher. Richardson succeeds in being directly promoted to the sixth grade. During these years he is very active in the Boy Scouts. He enjoys hiking, camping, and birdwatching. Richardson becomes a nature counselor. He leads tours on nature trails, stargazing and birdwatching groups in 'stargazing' through the Maryland marshland.
Due to cutbacks, Robert Richardson does only six months of military service, rather than having to spend two years on active duty. At Aberdeen Proving Ground, the Ordnance Corps training base, he takes courses in how to manage a platoon which would do things like repairing jeeps and tanks. After these six months he decides to come back to gain a Ph.D. in physics.
Robert Richardson joins Cornell University first as a teacher, than as professor. He is named Floyd R. Newman Professor of Physics in 1987. He becomes director of the atomic and solid-state physics laboratory in 1990. He serves as Vice Professor for Research at Cornell University between 1998 and 2007. Richardson is named Senior Vice Provost for Research Emeritus in 2008.
Robert Richardson dies in Ithaca at 75 of a heart attack.
Robert Richardson works during his summers with the National Bureau of Standards. He works in the Electricity Division calibrating electrical resistance standards. He has the opportunity to attend weekly seminar series, to read scientific literature on electrical instrumentation and to meet some of the authors of some of the classic articles.
Toshihide Maskawa is appointed Director of Maskawa Institute for Science and Culture at Kyoto Sangyo University.
Robert Richardson receives one third of the Nobel Prize in Physics along with David M. Lee and Douglas D. Osheroff "for their discovery of superfluidity in helium-3". Their discovery has led to two new areas of research in condensed matter physics, heavy fermions and high temperature superconductivity.
Robert Richardson enters Duke University as a full-time graduate student to work on low temperature physics with Horst Meyer, a very conscientious mentor for him. Richardson works on the NMR study of the exchange interaction in solid 3He (a rare isotope of helium with only one neutron), helped by the research associate Earle Hunt, who teaches him all about the new methods for pulsed NMR-spin echoes.
Robert Richardson attends Virginia Polytechnic Institute, where he enters the compulsory Reserve Officers Training Corps program. He starts to study as an electrical engineer, then to become chemistry major and finally, he turns to physics.