Yes Virginia, There Are Quantum Jumps

In a weird coincidence, shortly after I wrote a post about “quantum leap” as a metaphor, I was looking up some stuff about John Bell and ran into mentions of a paper he wrote called “Are There Quantum Jumps?” Bell is borrowing a title from Schrödinger, who wrote a pair of articles (really, one article […]

Interference with 10,000-Particle “Particles”: “Matter-wave interference with particles selected from a molecular library with masses exceeding 10000 amu”

I’m teaching Quantum Optics this term, and one of my students picked “Atom Optics” off the list of suggested paper topics. When he asked for pointers, I said “You should check out the diffraction stuff Markus Arndt’s group does.” And just like that, a paper from the Arndt group turns up from the Arxiv Blog… […]

Point Sources and Towers: “Multiaxis Inertial Sensing with Long-Time Point Source Atom Interferometry”

A little over a year ago, I visited Mark Kasevich’s labs at Stanford, and wrote up a paper proposing to use a 10-m atom interferometer to test general relativity. Now, that sounds crazy, but I saw the actual tower when I visited, so it wasn’t complete nonsense. And this week, they have a new paper […]

Tools of the Cold-Atom Trade: Introduction

I have a small collection of recent research papers that I’d like to write up open in various browser tabs and suchlike, but many of these would benefit from having some relatively clear and compact explanations of the underlying techniques. And while I can either dig up some old posts, or Google somebody else’s, it’s […]

The Making of “Squeezed States in a Bose-Einstein Condensate”

Yesterday’s write-up of my Science paper ended with a vague promise to deal some inside information about the experiment. So, here are some anecdotes that you would need to have been at Yale in 1999-2000 to pick up. We’ll stick with the Q&A format for this, because why not? Why don’t we start with some […]

My Claim to Scientific Fame: “Squeezed States in a Bose-Einstein Condensate”

In Monday’s post on squeezed states, I mentioned that I really liked the question because I had done work on the subject. This is, in fact, my claim to scientific fame (well, before the talking-to-the-dog thing, anyway)– I’m the first author on a Science paper with more than 500 citations having to do with squeezed […]

Atom by Atom Interaction: “Direct Measurement of the van der Waals Interaction between Two Rydberg Atoms”

I’m always a little ambivalent about writing up papers that have also been written up in Physics: on the one hand, they make a free PDF of the paper available, which allows me to reproduce figures from the paper in my post, since I’m not breaking a paywall to do it. Which makes it much […]

Few-Body Systems: Cooler Than You Might Think

Hey, dude? Yeah, what’s up? I’m not normally the one who initiates this, but I was wondering: When you were at DAMOP last week, did you see any really neat physics? Oh, sure, tons of stuff. It was a little thinner than some past meetings– a lot of the Usual Suspects didn’t make the trip– […]

Homework Is Evil?: “The benefits of completing homework for students with different aptitudes in an introductory physics course”

One of the perennial problems of teaching intro physics is getting students to do their homework, so I was very interested to see Andy Rundquist on Twitter post a link to a paper on the arxiv titled “How different incentives affect homework completion in introductory physics courses.” When I shared this with the rest of […]

How Do You Make Negative Temperatures, Anyway?

Last week’s post talked about the general idea of negative temperature, with reference to this much-talked-about Science paper (which also comes in a free arxiv version from which the figures used here are taken). I didn’t go into the details of how they made a negative temperature gas, though, and as it’s both very clever […]