Laser breakthroughs in basic science

20 March 2019
Versione stampabile

Venue : Room A101, Ferrari 1 Building

At: 14.30

  • Prof. Serge Haroche - Collège de France, Paris - Nobel Prize in Physics 2012

Abstract:

I will review breakthroughs in basic science which have been made possible by lasers over the last six decades. They have  achieved in the laboratory the highest temperatures existing in the core of the stars and also the lowest ones, at a few billionth of a degree from absolute zero, where matter takes exotic quantum forms. At the microscopic scale, lasers allow us to manipulate single atoms and photons and, at the cosmic scale, to observe gravitational waves generated billions of light years away from Earth. With lasers, we have developed clocks measuring long time intervals with an uncertainty of less than a second over the age of the universe, and produced light pulses lasting a few billionth of a billionth of a second, permitting the observation of the ultrafast phenomena taking place within atoms, molecules or condensed matter systems. These  achievements in so many different fields and at such different scales illustrate the crucial and ubiquitous role played in basic science by this extraordinary source of light.