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Beth Sorensen
Office of Communications


Carl E. Wieman, one of the three winners of the 2001 Nobel Prize in physics, will speak on his breakthrough work on the creation of Bose-Einstein condensate–a new form of matter–on Friday, November 15, at 4:10 p.m. in Reed’s Vollum lecture hall. Wieman’s lecture, "Bose-Einstein Condensation: Quantum Weirdness at the Lowest Temperature in the Universe," is sponsored by Reed's physics department and is free and open to the public. For more information visit or call the Reed events hotline at 503/777-7755.

Carl E. Wieman won the Nobel Prize "for the achievement of Bose-Einstein condensation in dilute gases of alkali atoms, and for early fundamental studies of the properties of the condensates," along with Wolfgang Ketterle and Eric A. Cornell. Wieman is a distinguished professor of physics at the University of Colorado—Boulder and JILA.

Cornell and Wieman led a team of physicists that created the first Bose-Einstein condensate in 1995. Predicted in 1924 by Albert Einstein, who built on the work of Satyendra Nath Bose, the condensate occurs when the wavelengths of individual atoms begin to overlap and behave in identical fashion, forming a "superatom." The "superatom" occurs when laboratory apparatus is used to chill a group of atoms to just a few hundred billionths of a degree above absolute zero. Its creation established a new branch of atomic physics that has spurred many new scientific discoveries as other scientists began replicating their work. Before photographing the superatom, Cornell and Wieman cooled rubidium atoms to 20 billionths of a degree above absolute zero, the lowest temperature ever achieved.

"It really is a new state of matter," Wieman said of the Bose-Einstein condensate. "It has completely different properties from any other kind of matter."

Wieman earned his B.S. from MIT, his Ph.D. from Stanford University, and an honorary doctorate of science from the University of Chicago. Recent awards include the National Science Foundation Director’s Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars (2001), the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics (1999-2000) and the American Physical Society’s Schawlow Prize for Laser Science (1999).

Reed College, in Portland, Oregon, is an undergraduate institution of the liberal arts and sciences dedicated to sustaining the highest intellectual standards in the country. With an enrollment of about 1,360 students, Reed ranks third in the undergraduate origins of Ph.D.s in the United States and second in the number of Rhodes scholars from a liberal arts college (31 since 1915).

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