Leon Neil Cooper ( New York , February 28 1930 ) is an American physicist who in 1972 along with John Bardeen and Robert Schrieffer the Nobel Prize in Physics was given for their jointly developed theory of superconductivity , usually BCS theory called. The name of Cooper is mainly associated with the so-called Cooper pairs , which in normal superconductors are responsible for the superconductivity.
After the Bronx High School of Science in 1947, Cooper attended Columbia University where he received his bachelor's degree (BA) in 1953, his master's (MA) and received his doctorate a year later in 1951. He spent a year at the Institute for Advanced Study , and then taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1955-57) and the Ohio State University (1957-58).
He went on to Brown University in Rhode Island , where he in 1966 Henry Ledyard Goddard University Professor was. Since 1974 he is the Thomas J. Watson, Sr.. Professor of Science , and from 1992 also director of the Institute of Brain and Neural Systems .
Cooper was asked by Professor Bardeen, together with graduate student Robert Schrieffer, to help his PhD research on the theory of superconductivity. Although Cooper said "to know nothing of superconductivity", he was asked in particular for its expertise in the area of field theory and quantum electrodynamics .
According to Bardeen someone with expertise in those areas could come back useful information about the interaction between electrons at the quantum level, and how superconductivity could occur. Cooper himself dramatically, compared to the 'energy gap' in the electronic structure of superconductors - the energy interval between the (superconducting) ground state and the (normal conducting) excited state. In early 1956 Cooper discovered that when a conductor below the critical temperature , the electrons which normally repel each other, are pairing - the later named after him, Cooper pairs. Electrons form Cooper pairs because their combined energy level ie lower than when they occur separately, however, a condition that occurs only at extremely low temperatures. Once these are formed creates a kind of super atom of Cooper pairs that are in the same quantum state there and move without resistance through the crystal lattice.  The theory of superconductivity was published in Physical Review in a 29-page long article. 
Cooper later changed the direction of research, and he made his name in the field of neural networks .
In addition to the Nobel Prize in Physics was Cooper some awards to receive, including the Comstock Prize in Physics of the National Academy of Sciences (1968, together with Schrieffer), the Award of Excellence, Graduate Faculties Alumni of Columbia University, the Descartes Medal (1977) of the Center for Advanced Defense Studies and Columbia CollegeJohn Jay Award in 1985. He also received seven honorary doctorates.
- An Introduction to the Meaning and Structure of Physics (1968)
- The Physics and Application of Superconductivity (1968, with Brian B. Schwartz)
- Introduction to Optimization Methods, or (1970)
- Or Linear Programming Methods and Applications (1974)
- Physics: Structure and Meaning (1992)
- How We Learn, How We Remember (1995)
- Cortical Theory of Plasticity (2004)