New Forms of Matter Near Absolute Zero Temperature

New Forms of Matter Near Absolute Zero Temperature

Thursday, September 13, 2012

College of Engineering and Physical Sciences

Frontiers Lecture Series
Professor Wolfgang Ketterle, MIT

Professor Wolfgang Ketterle

Friday, September 21, 2012

Location: DEM 112
Coffee and cookies: 3:30 p.m.
Talk: 4–5 p.m.

Why do physicists freeze matter to extremely low temperatures? In this talk, I will discuss new forms of matter, which only exist at extremely low temperatures. Low temperatures open a new door to the quantum world where particles behave as waves and “march in lockstep”. In 1925, Einstein predicted such a new form of matter, the Bose-Einstein condensate, but it was realized only in 1995 in laboratories at Boulder and at MIT. More recently, we have studied superfluid atom pairs which show behavior similar to electrons in superconducting materials.

Professor Wolfgang Ketterle, the John D. MacArthur professor of physics at MIT, leads a research group exploring new forms of matter near absolute zero temperature. In the mid-1990s, his group developed new cooling methods to reach nanokelvin temperatures and co-discovered Bose-Einstein condensation in a gas, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2001. Other honors include the Gustav-Hertz Prize of the German Physical Society (1997), the Rabi Prize of the American Physical Society (1997), the Fritz London Prize in Low Temperature Physics (1999), the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics (2000), and a Humboldt research award (2009).