Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy
Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Einstein's Legacy in Low Temperature Physics: Fascinating Behaviour of Gas, Liquid and Solid Matter near Absolute Zero

M. H. W. Chan
Penn State University

Monday, March 28, 2005
8:00 PM @ Stirling D

Abstract:

Einstein, built on the idea of Satyendra Bose, made the remarkable prediction that a collection of certain of particles, known as bosons, at sufficiently low temperature will lose their individual identities and coalesce into a single entity, and behave as one giant atom. This transformation, known as Bose-Einstein condensation, was observed in liquid helium nearly 70 years ago and in the vapor phase 10 years ago. In liquid helium, this transformation makes it a frictionless superfluid with a multitude of amazing properties. While not impossible, such a transformation in solid was considered to be highly unlikely. Nevertheless, evidence of such a supersolid helium phase, with signatures similar to that of superfluid , was found recently in the laboratory.

Professor M.H.W. Chan is the Cave Lecturer for 2005. Professor Chan is Evan Pugh Professor of Physics at the Pennsylvania State University, member of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States and winner of the Fritz London Prize in Low-Temperature Physics.

All are welcome to this public lecture, and a reception will be held after the talk. A more technical lecture (at a level suitable for undergraduates or graduate students in physics or other sciences) is being given by Professor Chan in Stirling A at 2:30pm on March 28th.