Physicist Ted Hänsch To Speak On Optical Spectroscopy, Feb.
9 At U.Va.
February 5, 2004 --
physicist Ted Hänsch will give
the annual Hoxton Lecture in Physics on Monday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m.
203 of the Physics Building, on McCormick Road at the University
title of his talk is “Ultra-Precision Optical
Spectroscopy: Counting the Ripples of a Light Wave.” A
reception will follow the talk, which is free and open to the
who is director of the Max-Planck-Institute for Quantum Optics
in Garching, Germany and a professor at the
in Munich (University of Munich), is one of the world’s
most highly respected optical and atomic physicists and the
recipient of nearly every major prize in his field.
are the basic building blocks of the elements and of
all materials. These simple, natural structures can also
timekeepers for unimaginably accurate clocks—clocks
that would have lost or gained no more than a second since
of the universe.
While atomic clocks of this accuracy might not help people
keep appointments or feed the dog on time, they are crucial
technology, particularly the navigational aids made possible
by the global positioning system. But in addition to their
importance, ultra-precise clocks and laser-based optical
spectroscopy are also allowing scientists to examine the
structures of atoms
and matter, and to see whether that structure has been changing
all the atoms and atomic timekeepers, none is more basic than
the ordinary hydrogen atom. For more than
has studied the hydrogen atom, and his work has led to
many advances in laser spectroscopy and optical frequency
have provided accurate values of fundamental constants
and permit stringent tests of basic physics laws.
author or co-author of more than 400 papers, Hänsch is
known for his seminal contributions to the fields of
lasers, laser spectroscopy, and laser cooling of atomic gases.
Among his many
pioneering efforts, Hänsch produced the first “atom
laser”—a device that emits a continuous beam
of coherent matter waves—and microfabricated “atom
hold and manipulated cold-trapped atoms. In his spectroscopic
work on the simple hydrogen atom, experiments are poised
to reveal possible
slow changes of fundamental constants or even differences
between matter and antimatter.
G. Hoxton, for whom the lecture series is named, was a professor
physics at U.Va. and served as department
from 1907 to 1948. Throughout those years Hoxton considered
it to be of great importance to convey to students
the excitement of new developments in physics.
Hoxton Lectures were inaugurated by the Department of Physics
in 1971 to share
the viewpoints of physicists
their expertise may offer new insights. These lectures
are intended to
be interesting and provocative.
Tammie Shifflett, (434) 924-3781