When freezing cold is not cold enough – new forms of matter close to absolute zero temperature
Public Lecture by Nobel Laureate
Prof. Wolfgang Ketterle
MIT, Cambridge Mass, USA
Why do physicists freeze matter to extremely low temperatures? Why is it worthwhile to cool to temperatures which are more than a million times lower than that of interstellar space? This lecture 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. More recently, Bose-Einstein condensates of molecules and fermion pairs have been created and may show behaviour similar to electrons in superconducting materials. A new form of high-temperature superfluidity has been discovered. In the future, we hope to use ultracold gases to create designer matter, i.e. to realise new forms of matter in the laboratory which have been discussed as model systems for many-body phenomena, but have not been observed in Nature.
The lecture will be pitched at a general audience and is open to all. It will be held in Lecture Theatre 1, McCance Building, University of Strathclyde at 6.00pm on Thursday 30th June 2011. Tea and coffee will be available in the McCance conservatory from 5.30pm.
Watch the video (Windows Media) of the lecture.
Prof Ketterle has pioneered the discoveries of Bose-Einstein condensation. His ground-breaking work on trapping and cooling atoms close to absolute zero led to one of the first experimental realisations of a Bose-Einstein condensate, for which he was awarded a share of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physics. Other highlights of his scientific achievements include the first demonstration of an atom laser, the realisation of molecular condensates and the study of superfluidity in atomic systems.