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Prof. Eric A. Cornell: "Artifice and Equilibrium: Experiments with Synthetic and Natural Vortices in a Superfluid Gas"

February 13, 2002 - 8:00pm
Teaching Center at the Science and Engineering Quad (TCSEQ)
Room 201, 370 Serra Mall, Stanford University

The 2002 Hofstadter Memorial Lectures

The Department of Physics is very excited to announce this year’s Robert Hofstadter Memorial Lectures, to be given on February 13 and 14, 2002. This year's distinguished invited speaker is Professor Eric A. Cornell, a co-recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physics. Prof. Cornell shared the prize for his work on creating the first Bose-Einstein condensates. Prof. Cornell is a Fellow of JILA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology at the University of Colorado in Boulder. An internationally acclaimed atomic physicist, Prof. Cornell did his undergraduate work at Stanford University. We hope you will plan to attend what are sure to be fascinating lectures.

The afternoon colloquium will be held on Wednesday, February 13, 2002 at 4:00 PM in the Regional Teaching Facility, 370 Serra Mall, TCSEQ, Room 201, Stanford University. The colloquium is entitled: "Artifice and Equilibrium: Experiments with Synthetic and Natural Vortices in a Superfluid Gas"

There are two reasonable ways to think about quantized vortices in a dilute-gas Bose-Einstein condensate. From one point of view, a vortex is a collective excitation from the true groundstate of the gas, a topologically nontrivial excitation whose creation and detection require very unconventional spectroscopic techniques. From another point of view, a vortex is the entirely natural response of a superfluid to an imposed rotation. Experiments of both varieties will be discussed

The evening public lecture will be held at 8:00 PM on THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2002, in the same location. The public lecture is entitled: "Stone Cold Science: Bose-Einstein Condensation and the Weird World of Physics a Millionth of a Degree from Absolute Zero."

As atoms get colder and colder, they become more and more like waves, and less like particles. When a gas of atoms gets so cold that the "waviness" of one atom overlaps the waviness of another, the result is a sort of quantum mechanical identity crisis, a "condensation" predicted 70 years ago by Albert Einstein. Eric Cornell will discuss how one reaches the necessary record-low temperatures, and explain why one goes to all of the trouble of making this bizarre state of matter.

Robert Hofstadter was one of the principal scientists who developed the Compton Observatory.

Contact Phone: 
(650) 723-4347

This event belongs to the following series