Nobel winner to speak on "coolest stuff in the universe" at Rowan UniversitySeptember 29, 2006
Nobel laureate Dr. William Phillips will present a public lecture on "Time, Einstein and the Coolest Stuff in the Universe" on Thursday, October 19, from 1 to 3 p.m. in the auditorium of Rowan Hall (the College of Engineering building located just off Bowe Boulevard). The event is being sponsored by the Department of Physics in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.
Phillips, who is group leader of the Laser Cooling and Trapping Group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, MD, and distinguished university professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, shared the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light. He earned a B.S. in physics from Juniata College, Huntington, Pa., and a Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Phillips, who has won numerous professional awards in addition to the Nobel Prize (including the 1996 Albert A. Michelson Medal from the Franklin Institute for his experimental demonstrations of laser cooling and atom trapping), is a fellow of the American Physical Society, Optical Society of America and American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Sigma Xi Research Society and Society of Physics Students.
His presentation will review how Einstein's thinking and his view of time have led to the best clocks ever made. According to Phillips, atomic clocks are essential to industrial, commercial and scientific interests and are the heart of the Global Positioning System (GPS), which guides aircraft, land vehicles and hikers to their destinations. Today, atomic clocks are still being improved, using Einstein's ideas to cool the atoms to incredibly low temperatures.
According to Phillips, NIST scientists make the coolest stuff in the universe, now less than a billionth of a degree above Absolute Zero, producing clocks accurate to better than a second in 60 million years as well as both using and testing some of Einstein's strangest predictions.
His talk will be a multimedia presentation, suitable for a general audience of children and adults, with live demonstrations and down-to-earth explanations about some of today's newest and most exciting science.