Linfield College

Navigation

About Linfield

Linfield Scenic

Pre-July 2009 Press Archives

Press Releases

3/7/2005 LINFIELD NOBEL SYMPOSIUM FOCUSES ON PHYSICS

McMINNVILLE -- Carl E. Wieman, distinguished professor of physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder and an Oregon native, will be featured at the Oregon Nobel Laureate Symposium at Linfield College.

Wieman will present "Bose-Einstein Condensation: Quantum Weirdness at the Lowest Temperature in the Universe" Wednesday, March 30, at 7:30 p.m. in Melrose Auditorium. The lecture is a general presentation, complete with computer animation and suitable for middle school students and above. It is free, but tickets are required and are available through College Relations, 026 Melrose Hall, 503-883-2217.

Wieman, who was raised in Corvallis, shared the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physics with Eric Cornell of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Wolfgang Ketterle of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They were cited for their landmark 1995 creation of the first Bose-Einstein condensate, a new form of matter that occurs at just a few hundred billionths of a degree above absolute zero. The study and use of the curious properties of BEC has now become an important subfield of physics. Wieman will discuss how they create BEC and some of the subsequent research they have done on it.

Wieman is known for his unwavering dedication to undergraduate teaching and to science education. In November, he was named Professor of the Year among all doctoral and research universities in the United States by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. He used his Nobel Prize money, as well as the $5,000 prize he was awarded by the Carnegie Foundation and CASE, to support improvements in science education through the Physics Education Technology Project. It focuses on interactive "virtual" physics experiments created using Java Applets, a type of computer code that allows users to manipulate virtual objects on the computer screen. It is aimed at high school students, science and non-science-oriented

undergraduate college students and the general public. Wieman will use interactive applets as a tool for teaching science during his Linfield presentation.

In 2001, Wieman was one of seven scientists and engineers in the U.S. to receive the National Science Foundation?s Director?s Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars. Each recipient received $300,000 over four years to continue sharing their teaching talents and research excellence with students and the general public.

Wieman has taught at the University of Colorado since 1984 and holds a Marsico Endowed Chair of Excellence. He also is a fellow of JILA, a joint institute of CU-Boulder and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. He has a bachelor?s degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. from Stanford University. For more information on Wieman go to: http://www.colorado.edu/news/nobel/wiemancornell/

The Oregon Nobel Laureate Symposium is one of only five such symposia in the world. Since it was established at Linfield in 1985, 19 Nobel laureates and many other distinguished visitors have participated. The symposium engages Nobel laureates from a variety of disciplines in discussions of problems and issues of global significance.

For more information, call 503-883-2498.

(Bose-Einstein condensation: In 1924 Einstein predicted that a gas would undergo a dramatic transformation at a sufficiently low temperature (now known as Bose-Einstein condensation or BEC). In 1995, Wieman?s group was able to observe this transformation by cooling a gas sample to the unprecedented temperature of less than 100 billionths of a degree above absolute zero. The BEC state is a novel form of matter in which a large number of atoms lose their individual identities and behave as a single quantum entity, the "superatom." This entity is the atom analogue to laser light, and, although large enough to be easily seen and manipulated, exhibits the nonintuitive quantum behavior normally important only at much tinier size scales.)