Nobel Prize Winner To Present "Strange World" Of Physics Oct. 10

Oct. 5, 2000

by LoAna Lopez

Balloons and flowers frozen with the help of liquid nitrogen are among the experiments that help renowned physicist Dr. William D. Phillips explain the "strange world" of supercold atoms. At 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 10, the 1997 Nobel Laureate in physics will give a free public presentation for all ages on "Almost Absolute Zero: The Story of Laser Cooling and Trapping" in Room 100 of Marrs McLean Science Building on the Baylor University campus.

Local teachers are encouraged to offer this as a fun learning experience for students.

"Dr. Phillips' presentation is an entertaining romp through the world of quantum physics and supercold atoms," said Dr. Todd Lake, dean of chapel and minister to the university community at Baylor. "It's a spectacular demonstration and is just as fun for elementary school kids as it is for graduate students and physicists."

Born in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., in 1948, Phillips attended Juniata College, where he received his bachelor's degree summa cum laude in 1970. After earning his doctorate in physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1976, Phillips went to work for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as part of the Electricity Division in 1978. Though his first official duties related to his thesis in the area of magnetic resonance, he used "stolen moments" to dabble in laser-cooling. With the encouragement of management, the NIST Fellow continued experiments, establishing the internationally recognized laser cooling and trapped atom research program, an effort that eventually led to a Nobel Prize in 1997. Phillips also was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1997, which is considered one of the highest possible honors for a U.S. scientist.

In addition to his public presentation, Phillips will speak during Chapel on Oct. 11 in Waco Hall and also talk with Baylor students about how he integrates his work as a scientist with his Christian faith.

For more information about the presentation, contact Baylor's Chapel Office at 710-3517.

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