John Wiley Jones Distinguished Lectureship in Science
Time, Einstein and the coolest stuff in the universe
WIlliam Phillips University of Maryland
Thursday, March 5, 2015
At the beginning of the twentieth century Einstein changed the way we think about time. Near the end of the twentieth century scientists learned how to cool a gas of atoms to temperatures billions of times lower than anything else in the universe. Now, in the twenty-first century, Einstein's thinking, and ultracold atoms, are shaping one of the key scientific and technological wonders of contemporary life: atomic clocks, the best timekeepers ever made. Such super-accurate clocks are essential to industry, commerce, and science; they are the heart of the Global Positioning System (GPS), which guides cars, airplanes, and hikers to their destinations. Today, the best primary atomic clocks use ultracold atoms, achieve accuracies better than a second in 300 million years, and are getting better all the time. Super-cold atoms, with temperatures that can be below a billionth of a degree above absolute zero, use, and allow tests of, some of Einstein's strangest predictions.
Join Dr. Phillips be a lively, multimedia presentation, including experimental demonstrations and down-to-earth explanations about some of today's most exciting science.