The North American Prize for physics is named after David M. Lee, Douglas D. Osheroff and Robert C. Richardson who were joint winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1996, for their discovery of superfluidity in 3He.

They conducted the Nobel prize winning research in the early 1970's in the low temperature laboratory at Cornell University using apparatus they had built themselves to produce sample temperatures within a few thousandths of a degree of absolute zero. Their findings proved that the helium isotope 3He can be made superfluid at a temperature only about two thousandths of a degree above absolute zero. The discovery initiated intensive research on the special characteristics of the new quantum liquid. Lee, Osheroff and Richardson have also received, among other awards, the Sir Francis Simon Memorial Prize 1976 (Institute of Physics UK), and the Oliver E. Buckley Solid State Physics Prize 1980 (American Physical Society); for the discovery of superfluidity in 3He.

Oxford Instruments would like to thank David M. Lee, Douglas D. Osheroff and Robert C. Richardson for permission to name the prize after them.