Time: 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 31st
Speakers: Will Cairncross, Lewis Picard, Jessie Zhang
Graphics: Wei Wu
If you could cool something to near absolute zero, how would it behave? What would you use it for? For the past half century, physicists have been finding out! When things get cold, the atoms that make them up move more and more slowly. When atoms move slowly, physicists have found they can use lasers to manipulate their quantum mechanical behavior. We’ll talk about how using lasers and “ultracold” atoms, physicists are able to simulate more complicated quantum materials, like magnets and superconductors, and to engineer the building blocks of “quantum computers” which may one day allow us to solve some problems which a normal computer even the size of planet earth could never solve.