Lasers

Category archives for Lasers

Yesterday’s equation was the first real result of quantum theory, Max Planck’s formula for the black-body spectrum. Planck never really liked the quantum basis of it, though, and preferred to think of it as just a calculational trick. It wasn’t until 1905 that anybody took the idea really seriously, leading to today’s equation: From the…

A physics story makes the front page of the New York Times today. Sadly, it’s with the headline Laser Advances in Nuclear Fuel Stir Terror Fear. Sigh. The key technological development, here, is that General Electric has been playing around with a laser-based isotope separation technique. This is an idea that’s been around for a…

The second in the DAMOP research categories I talked about is “Extreme Lasers,” a name I was somewhat hesitant to use, as every time I see “Extreme [noun],” I get a flash of Stephen Colbert doing air guitar. It is, however, the appropriate term, because these laser systems push the limits of what’s possible both…

The first of the five categories of active research at DAMOP that I described in yesterday’s post is “Ultracold Matter.” The starting point for this category of research is laser cooling to get a gas of atoms down to microkelvin temperatures (that is, a few millionths of a degree above absolute zero. Evaporative cooling can…

That’s the title of my slightly insane talk at the DAMOP (Division of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics of the American Physical Society) conference a couple of weeks ago, summarizing current topics of interest in Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics. I’ll re-embed the slides at the end of this post, for anyone who missed my…

DAMOP Day 2

One of the odd things about going to conferences is the unpredictable difference between talks and papers. Sometimes, when you go to a talk, you just get an exact repetition of what’s in the paper; other times, you get a new angle on it, or some different visual representations that make something that previously seemed…

DAMOP Day 1

Tuesday at DAMOP was dominated by my talk. Well, in my mind, at least. I suppose people who aren’t me saw other interesting things. OK, fine, I did go to some other sessions. I would link to the abstracts, but the APS web site is having Issues this morning. In the Prize Session that always…

That’s the title of my talk this morning at DAMOP, where I attempt the slightly insane feat of summarizing a meeting with over 1000 presentations in a single 30-minute talk. This will necessarily involve talking a little bit like the person reading the legal notices at the end of a car commercial, and a few…

I have to admit, I’m writing this one up partly because it lets me use the title reference. It’s a cool little paper, though, demonstrating the lengths that physicists will go to in pursuit of precision measurements. I’m just going to pretend I didn’t see that dorky post title, and ask what this is about.…

This paper made a big splash back in November, with lots of news stories talking about it; it even made the #6 spot on Physics World‘s list of breakthroughs of the year. I didn’t write it up then because I was hellishly busy, and couldn’t take time away from working on the book-in-progress to figure…