The Birth of BEC

I'm massively short on sleep today, and wasn't going to blog until I saw somebody on Facebook mention that June 5th 1995 is the date of record for the first Bose-Einstein condensate at JILA in Boulder. I couldn't let that pass, so I wrote it up for Forbes:

Twenty years ago, in the summer of 1995, I was a young grad student having just finished my second year at Maryland, and one morning I packed into the conference room at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg (where I worked in the group of Bill Phillips) with most of the rest of the Atomic Physics division to hear a primitive teleconference from our counterparts in Boulder. I don’t remember the exact date of the teleconference– I think it was in early July– but the event that led to it took place twenty years ago today, June 5, 1995, when physicists in the group of Carl Wieman and Eric Cornell at JILA (a joint institute between NIST and the University of Colorado) produced the first Bose-Einstein condensate in a dilute vapor of rubidium. This was the end of a quest spanning decades, all the way back to the first proposal of BEC in 1925.

So, you know, go check that out...

Earlier in the week, I also grumbled about the dominance of superhero movies, and how they get science very badly wrong. This is pretty similar to something I wrote here a while back, but with some new examples. So.

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