Published the Nov. 29, 2019

Second C2N Colloquium: William Phillips, on December 13th, 2019

The C2N is pleased to welcome Prof. William Phillips for its Second Colloquium, that will be held on December 13th (at 10AM) at the Amphitheater of C2N, at the heart of Paris-Saclay campus. William Phillips is Professor at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and University of Maryland. He was awarded with the Nobel Prize of Physics in 1997, together with Claude Cohen-Tannoudji et Steven Chu, for the development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light.

His lecture, open to a general audience, will be about:


New Measure: the reform of the International System of Units

Abstract: The metric system began with the French revolution, and now we are experiencing the greatest revolution in measurement since the French revolution. The definitions of the kilogram, ampere, kelvin, and mole are all changed, being based on chosen and fixed values for Planck’s constant, the electron charge, Boltzmann’s constant, and Avogadro’s number. I will explain how this is possible, why it was necessary, and speculate about future changes in the SI.

Bio: William D. Phillips received his Ph.D. from MIT in 1976. In 1978, after a postdoc, he joined the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg were he began NIST’s Laser Cooling and Trapping Group. That group, now part of the Joint Quantum Institute, developed many of the techniques now used world-wide for laser cooling and cold atom experiments. In 1997, Dr. Phillips shared the Nobel Prize in Physics «for development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light.»

The seminar will be followed by a discussion between William Phillips and the PhD students and Post-docs, and a cocktail will be served in the C2N main hall.