DAMOP Day Two

Thursday at DAMOP was a little more broken up than usual for me at one of these meetings, because the nagging cold I have was bugging me more, and also because I needed to check my email a few times. There was still some neat stuff, though.

The early-morning session was the toughest call of the meeting: there was the undergraduate research session, a session on ultracold Rydberg atoms, and a session on complicated states in BEC, in widely spaced locations. I ended up skipping the undergraduate session in favor of hearing Chris Foot talk about a rotating optical lattice (which simulates some condensed matter system that I couldn't quite figure out), and Steve Rolston on the latest in ultra-cold plasmas.

In the 10:30 session, I caught the first two talks on disorder in ultracold gases, both on demonstrations of Anderson localization. The second talk in particular was very nice-- it wasn't Massimo Inguscio, but one of his post-docs, Benjamin Deissler. It's cool to see cold atoms being used for such clear demonstrations of condensed matter phenomena.

The afternoon highlight, talk-wise, was a pair of talks about frequency combs, particularly the one by Ron Walsworth about the "astro-comb" for the detection of new extrasolar planets. The idea is to use a stable frequency comb as a calibration source for spectroscopic measurements, which can improve the velocity sensitivity of the Doppler shift measurements to something like 10 cm/s. This gets close to being able to detect Earth-sized planets around Sun-like stars in habitable orbits, which would be way cool.

After dinner with a bunch of Williams folks, I hurried back to campus to catch Diandra Leslie-Pelecky talking about NASCAR, not so much because I care about auto racing, as because I hope to be in the public-lecture-giving position in a year or so, and I'd like to see how it's done. She gave a really good talk, though a fair number of the jokes were aimed at physicists. The book (which I was reading on the plane on the way down) is also very good.

And that's more or less it for Thursday. I'm going to be earlier tonight, in hopes of being better rested and less congested tomorrow.

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