Nobel Prize winner to present explosive public lecture


Nobel Prize Laureate, Professor William D. Phillips
Nobel Prize Laureate Professor William D. Phillips

American physicist and Nobel Prize Laureate, Professor William D. Phillips, will host a lively and intriguing public lecture at Lancaster University this November featuring exciting demonstrations and down-to-earth explanations.

“Time, Einstein, and the coolest stuff in the universe,” is free and open to all and will include visually fascinating experiments and explanations about some of today’s hottest (and coolest) science – featuring explosive demonstrations with liquid nitrogen.

A world-renowned physicist, Professor Phillips will explore how the measurement of time is being revolutionised through the use of atomic clocks in our everyday lives – a development compared to how Einstein changed the way we think about time at the beginning of the 20th Century.

Now, early in the 21st Century, atomic clocks - the best timekeepers ever made - are one of the scientific and technological wonders of modern life. Such super-accurate clocks are essential to industry, commerce, and science and at the heart of GPS (Global Positioning Systems) which guides cars, aeroplanes and hikers to their destinations.

Today, the best primary atomic clocks use ultracold atoms which achieve accuracies of about one second in 300 million years, and are getting better all the time. A new generation of atomic clocks is also leading us to re-define what we mean by time. Super-cold atoms, with temperatures that can be below a billionth of a degree above absolute zero, use, and allow tests of, some of Einstein’s strangest predictions.

In 1997, Professor Phillips shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for ‘development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light’. He joined the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the United States in 1978 and is a member of the Laser Cooling and Trapping Group of NIST's Physical Measurement Laboratory. Professor Phillips is also a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland.

Lancaster University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andy Schofield said: “We’re delighted to welcome Professor Bill Phillips to Lancaster and honoured to have such a world-renowned academic as part of our public lecture series. This is an open invite for local residents to visit our welcoming campus and hear from Professor Phillips in this accessible, fun and educational talk.

“The public lecture series is just one of the ways the University engages with our communities, sharing research and its relevance to everyday lives.”

The public lecture, will take place on Wednesday 23 November, 6.30pm - 8pm at the new state-of-the-art Margaret Fell Lecture Theatre on Lancaster University’s Bailrigg campus.

This public lecture is now fully booked, but a recording will be made available soon after.

The lecture will be followed by a Q&A session during which you will have the opportunity to ask questions of the speaker, and even have a chance to win a prize! The evening will end with a drinks reception.

Find out more about the Public Lecture Series here, including videos of previous lectures.

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