HMC Physics Colloquium

Tuesdays at 16:30 in Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning, Room B460

Wes Campbell

University of California at Los Angeles

One Year Ago Tomorrow (and What Physics Students Should Know About It)

Oct. 8, 2013

The 2013 Nobel Prize in physics is announced today, but for a series of practical reasons, today’s discussion will focus on the work that led to the prize that was awarded to David Wineland and Serge Haroche one year ago tomorrow.  That story begins with the demonstration of laser cooling in 1978, which ushered in a new era for atomic physics where the full quantum states (internal and external) of atoms would be precisely controlled in the following decades.  This control has essentially given today’s atomic, molecular, and optical (AMO) physicist the power to realize experiments in the laboratory that were always considered “gedanken-” or thought- experiments.  The simplistic nature of these experiments means they can be understood with undergraduate-level concepts, and the field of AMO physics will be introduced through a case study of work by Wineland and Haroche.