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~Wellesley College Lecture To Feature Nobel Laureate in Physics William Phillips~

For immediate release:
April 6, 2004

Arlie Corday,

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- "Almost Absolute Zero: The Story of Laser Cooling and Trapping," a lecture by William Phillips, Fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and 1997 Nobel Laureate in physics, will be presented Monday, April 12, at 4:45 pm at Wellesley College's Science Center, room 278. (Refreshments will be served at 4:30 in the Science Center lounge.) The events are free and open to the public.

Sponsored by the Wellesley Physics Department, the talk is aimed at a general audience, but discusses and demonstrates some of the newest and most exciting developments in physics. Phillips pioneered the development of laser cooling and trapping of atoms, allowing subsequent breakthroughs in physics, including the achievement of Bose-Einstein condensation.

"Contrary to intuition, we can cool down a gas by shining a laser on it," Phillips said. "This lecture will describe how laser cooling works, and why it works better than anyone had expected it to. We can now cool a gas of atoms to less than a millionth of a degree above absolute zero--the coldest temperatures in the universe." These findings have applications ranging from super-accurate atomic clocks to quantum devices like atom lasers.

For more information, contact Professor of Physics Ted Ducas at 781-283-3047.

Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal-arts education for women who will make a difference in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 68 countries. For more information, go to


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