We’re delighted to announce our latest FRED talk: Good Times with Quantum Mechanics.
If you’ve ever wanted to talk with a real live quantum mechanic, this is your chance!
April 14 at 8pm (doors open at 7) at Pumping Station: One 3354 N. Elston Ave, free to the Public.
Dr. Ian Spielman, a NIST researcher and UMD adjunct professor will present:
Synthetic electromagnetism: using quantum mechanics to engineer the fields that weren’t
[details after the jump]
Short abstract: Good times with quantum mechanics.
Long Abstract: Over the past twenty or thirty years a series of technical innovations have allowed experimental physicists to cool clouds of atoms to staggeringly low temperatures. In my lab, at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, MD, we first trap and laser cool about a billion rubidium atoms to a balmy 20 microKelvin. These atoms are further evaporatively cooled, by slowly removing the most energetic atoms, until the remaining atoms reach “quantum degeneracy” and collect into a single quantum mechanical state — a phase of matter called a Bose-Einstein condensate or BEC — at temperatures as low as 1 nanoKelvin.
These atoms are charge neutral, i.e. they are not ions, so they don’t accelerate in electric fields, or feel the Lorentz force in magnetic fields. Using a combination of lasers and magnetic fields we cause atoms in our BEC to behave like they were charged particles moving in (non-existent) electric and magnetic fields.