Douglas Osheroff enters the Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics at Cornell University. As Teaching Assistant of David Lee, the head of the low temperature laboratory, Osheroff does research investigating the properties of helium-3 under temperatures of only about two thousandths of a degree above absolute zero (−273° C) along with Robert C. Richardson.

Douglas Osheroff receives one third of the Nobel Prize in Physics along with David M. Lee and Robert C. Richardson "for their discovery of superfluidity in helium-3".

In November 1971 Osheroff notices minute jumps in the internal pressure of the sample of helium-3 under study. The group eventually concludes that helium-3 has undergone a phase transition to a superfluid state. Superfluids behave according to the laws of quantum mechanics, instead of the classical laws that ordinarily govern liquids. This discovery allowed researchers to study directly the quantum mechanical effects that had previously been studied only indirectly.

Douglas Osheroff enters the Departments of Physics and Applied Physics at Stanford University. In 1991, Stanford honours Osheroff with the Gores Award for excellence in teaching. From 1993-1996, he serves as Physics Department Chairman. He continues researching on quantum fluids, solids and glasses at ultra-low temperatures. He investigates also adiabatic nuclear demagnetization, the dielectric and thermal properties of glasses, and kinetic theory.

In September 1972 Douglas Osheroff moves to New Jersey to become a member of technical staff of AT&T Bell Laboratories at Murray Hill continuing to research low-temperature phenomena in helium-3. In the late 1970s he leads researches on solid helium-3 and electron localisation, and by late 1979, discovers antiferromagnet resonance in helium-3.

Douglas Osheroff attends the Aberdeen High School. He is a good student. In particular, he excels in physics and chemistry classes. During his senior year in high school he builds a working 100 keV X-ray machine.

Douglas Osheroff is born in Aberdeen, Washington, second of five children to William Osheroff, a doctor whose parents were Jewish immigrants from Russia and, Bessie Anne (née Ondov), a nurse, daughter of Slovak immigrants. Since an early age, Osheroff shows interest in natural sciences; especially mechanical, chemical and electrical projects.

Douglas Osheroff enrols at the California Institute of Technology where he studies under Richard Feynman. In his senior year, Osheroff helps Don McCullum and Walter Ogier in their efforts to reach a temperature of 0.5 K in a helium bath.