"Galileo Galilei" Colloquium (March 28th 2003)

"Almost Absolute Zero: the Coldest Stuff in the Universe" 

William D. Phillips, Nobel Prize for Physics in 1997 
Atomic Physics Division, Physics Laboratory 
National Institute of Standards and Technology 
Gaithersburg (USA) 

Department of Physics "E. Fermi", building B,  room F at 15:00 

Contrary to intuition, we can cool down a gas by shining a laser on it. This lecture will describe how laser cooling works, and why it works better than anyone had expected it to. With laser cooling and other tricks, we can now cool a gas of atoms to much less than a millionth of a degree above absolute zero - the coldest temperatures in the universe.  
Atoms this cold exhibit weird and wonderful properties, including a phenomenon predicted by Einstein more than 75 years ago. 
This lecture is aimed at a general audience of people who are not specialists in the physics of laser-atom interactions, but discusses some of the newest and most exciting developments in physics.