Quantum mechanics talk at PS1 tonight


Chicago hackerspace Pumping Station One is hosting NIST researcher and University of Maryland professor Dr. Ian Spielman, who will give a talk on quantum mechanics. Doors open at 7pm and the talk begins at 8. Free.

Over the past twenty or thirty years a series of technical innovations have allowed experimental physicists to cool clouds of atoms to staggeringly low temperatures. In my lab, at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, MD, we first trap and laser cool about a billion rubidium atoms to a balmy 20 microKelvin. These atoms are further evaporatively cooled, by slowly removing the most energetic atoms, until the remaining atoms reach “quantum degeneracy” and collect into a single quantum mechanical state — a phase of matter called a Bose-Einstein condensate or BEC — at temperatures as low as 1 nanoKelvin.

These atoms are charge neutral, i.e. they are not ions, so they don’t accelerate in electric fields, or feel the Lorentz force in magnetic fields. Using a combination of lasers and magnetic fields we cause atoms in our BEC to behave like they were charged particles moving in (non-existent) electric and magnetic fields.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net

View more articles by John Baichtal


Ready to dive into the realm of hands-on innovation? This collection serves as your passport to an exhilarating journey of cutting-edge tinkering and technological marvels, encompassing 15 indispensable books tailored for budding creators.