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April 16, 2014 | People News

JQI Fellow Gretchen Campbell among PECASE awardees

Release from NIST Tech Beat, April 15, 2014

Three National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) researchers were among those honored April 14, 2014, at a White House reception as winners of Presidential Early Career Awards. The award is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

March 19, 2014 | Research News

Cold Chaos

At sub-micro-kelvin temperatures atoms or molecules move so slowly that it is better to think of them as spread-out, wavelike things a micron or more across, many times larger than any putative bond length (typically sub-nanometer in size) that would characterize bound molecules. A new experiment conducted at the University of Innsbruck in Austria adds a new twist to this picture.

March 6, 2014 | Research News

Up-Converted Radio

Ever worry about losing your mobile-phone reception? The problem is a weak microwave signal. A new approach to this important problem provides a clean, all-optical detection of microwaves and radiowaves featuring noise mitigation a thousand times better than existing methods.

February 14, 2014 | Research News

Solitary Confinement

Atomic nuclei are governed by laws quite distinct from those that regulate atomic electrons, which constitute the outer part of atoms and which are immediately responsible for light, chemistry and thus life. Yet there are sporadic regions of contact between these disparate realms. JQI Adjunct Fellow Marianna Safronova and her collaborators have been exploring one area of nuclear-atomic overlap for the isotope thorium-229.

February 13, 2014 | People News | Research News


The following papers with JQI authors will be presented at the March meeting of the American Physical Society, being held March 2-7, 2014 in Denver.

January 2, 2014 | Research News

The Entropy of Nations

Adam Smith showed in his book "The Wealth of Nations" that a sort of "hidden hand" was at work in distributing income among the population. A new JQI study shows that distribution of energy among nations is thermodynamic in nature.

December 2, 2013 | PFC | Research News

Quantum Gimbal

Theorists at the Joint Quantum Institute predict that for some elements a vortex of atoms can be produced which pivots around another sample of atoms at rest in the middle. Such a quantum gimbal has been observed in condensates of two atomic species but never before in a swarm of exclusively one type of atoms in a state of lowest energy.

October 8, 2013 | People News

Congratulations to the 2013 Nobel Prize recipients Higgs and Englert

The 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded “for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, and which recently was confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle, by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.”

September 30, 2013 | Research News

Seeing Light in a New Light

Alexey Gorshkov, formerly of CalTech and Harvard, recently joined the JQI as a new Fellow. His research group can be found at This is a news item released earlier this week by Harvard University.

September 20, 2013 | PFC | Research News

Simulation sets atoms shivering

JQI researchers perform a quantum simulation of the 1D Dirac equation, by assembling an analogue system of neutral atoms in a Bose-Einstein condensate.

August 27, 2013 | PFC | People News

Peter Kordell is awarded undergraduate research prize

Peter Kordell, a UMD undergrad, was awarded the IPST Monroe Martin Prize for Undergraduate Research in Physics.

Upcoming Events

April 23, 2014
Russell Bisset | Los Alamos National Laboratory
April 28, 2014
Vanderlei Bagnato | Instituo de Fisica de Sao Carlos - University of S. Paulo

People News


PFC and JQI researchers engage the public in quantum research. Click here to request a visit from one of our scientists!

Twitter Updates

People Profiles

  • James R. Williams

    James R. Williams is the newest JQI fellow, having arrived in March 2014. He is an assistant professor of physics at the University of Maryland, and his chief area of research is experimental condensed matter physics. Specifically, he specializes in understanding why certain one and two-dimensional materials (e.g. topological insulators, graphene) depart from normal conductivity provided by free electrons.

    Jimmy, as he likes to be called, almost didn’t go to college. All he wanted to do was work on cars. His mother forced him to apply to one college, so he choose Santa Clara University where he previously attended a basketball camp. He majored in engineering, but his favorite courses involved physics, so he changed direction again. This is how he arrived at his chosen area of research.

    Eventually he got a PhD from Harvard University in 2009 on the subject of grapheme, while studying under Charles M. Marcus. He was then a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford before coming to Maryland.

  • Alexey V. Gorshkov

    Alexey Gorshkov is a JQI fellow and theoretical physicist at NIST. He grew up in Moscow until his parents brought him to Boston when he was in 10th grade. In high school, he was good at math, so that's what he was planning to do in college, but then math ended up being too dry. Physics offered a perfect alternative since it involved lots of interesting mathematics and grappled with problems related to real life.

    He attended Harvard for his undergraduate and graduate degrees, obtaining a physics PhD in 2010 studying under Mikhail Lukin. After that he was a postdoctoral fellow at Caltech, working with John Preskill. He won numerous university teaching and research awards during these years.

    His research is at the intersection of AMO physics, condensed matter physics, and quantum information science. He has authored dozens of papers and has a patent entitled: “Scalable Room Temperature Quantum Information Processor.”

  • Gretchen Campbell, Fellow

    Campbell is a NIST JQI fellow and works in the Laser Cooling and Trapping group. In her atom circuits lab, reserachers probe Na BECs in toroidal traps. The goals of these experiments include studying superfluidity, as well as superfluid analogs to superconducting circuits. A second experiment with ultracold strontium is being built. She received a Ph.D from MIT in 2006, where she worked with Wolfgang Ketterle and Dave Pritchard. There, she used Rb BECs in optical lattices to study atom interferometry, nonlinear atom optics and the superfluid – Mott insulator phase transition. These experiments included the first direct observation of the atomic recoil momentum in dispersive media. More recently, she worked with Jun Ye on precision measurements and frequency metrology with an 87Sr optical lattice clock. 

  • Stephen Powell

    JQI alumnus Stephen Powell, JQI

    Stephen Powell, a former JQI postdoctoral fellow at CMTC, now works at the Nordic Institute of Theoretical Physics or Nordita in Stockholm, Sweden. His research in the group of Sankar Das Sarma centered around strongly correlated systems with a specific focus on frustrated magnetism and ultracold gases. At Nordita, he will continue this line of research, which is at the meeting point of condensed matter and atomic physics. He will help organize the Nordita program “Pushing the boundaries with cold atoms,” to be held in early 2013. In talking of his postdoctoral experience he says, “Something I've particularly enjoyed about being at JQI is having close contact with various experimental groups here.”

  • Steven Olmshenck

    JQI alumnus Steven Olmshenck, JQI

    NRC postdoctoral fellow Steven Olmschenk will be joining the faculty at Denison University located in Granville, Ohio. Steve was a graduate student in Chris Monroe’s Trapped Ion Quantum Information group. For the last few years he has been a postdoc in the NIST Laser Cooling and Trapping Group. While at NIST he has worked on Trey Porto’s double-well optical lattice experiment. Upon moving to Dension he plans to build an ion trapping experiment. 

  • Wes Campbell

    JQI alumnus Wes Campbell, JQI

    Wes Campbell will join the faculty at UCLA in the fall, where he plans to build up a lab to study cold molecules and trapped ions. His cold molecule research is an outgrowth of the NSF Physics Frontier Center’s seed funding program, here at JQI. The seed funding program is a competitive opportunity for postdocs to apply for PFC funding to support an independent project. Since 2008, Wes has been doing research in Chris Monroe’s trapped ion quantum information group. Wes was instrumental in constructing an experiment that focuses on ultrafast gates with ions. During the last year he has also worked on quantum simulations of magnetism with ion chains.

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