Nobel Laureate Lecture: Time, Einstein, and the Coolest Stuff in the Universe

Nobel Laureate Lecture: Time, Einstein, and the Coolest Stuff in the Universe
Date Wednesday, April 18, 2018
7 - 8:30 p.m.
FeaturingDr. Bill Phillips, Nobel laureate
Location Benson Great Hall - View maps and directions
CostFree public lecture, no tickets required
SponsorsBethel's Physics and Engineering Program and the Office of Academic Affairs

Event Description

This lively multimedia presentation by Nobel Prize winner Dr. William D. Phillips includes exciting experimental demonstrations and down-to-earth explanations about some of today's hottest (and coolest) science. Adults as well as youth will enjoy this fun opportunity to learn about atomic science and its everyday applications.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Einstein changed the way we think about time. Now, early in the 21st century, the measurement of time is being revolutionized by the ability to cool a gas of atoms to temperatures millions of times lower than any naturally occurring temperature in the universe. Atomic clocks, the best timekeepers ever made, are one of the scientific and technological wonders of modern life. 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 of about one second in 300 million years, and are getting better all the time, while a new generation of atomic clocks is leading us to redefine what we mean by 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. 

In 1997, Dr. Phillips shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for developing methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light. Applications include GPS and other technologies that rely on ultra-accurate atomic clocks.

Photo: © William Mills, Montgomery County Public Schools


Contact Associate Professor of Physics Chad Hoyt at