APS News

October 2016 (Volume 25, Number 9)

Atomic Physicist Loses Battle with Cancer at Age 47

By David Voss

Deborah S. Jin, adjunct professor of physics at the University of Colorado Boulder, and a Fellow at JILA (a joint institute of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Colorado), died on September 15, 2016.

Considered by her colleagues to be a pioneer in ultracold atom and molecule research, Jin had received numerous awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship, the APS Maria Goeppert-Mayer Award, the APS I. I. Rabi Prize, and the Isaac Newton Medal of the Institute of Physics. She was a Fellow of the APS and a member of U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

“To those of us who have had the privilege to know Debbie Jin as an amazing and accomplished scientific colleague and friend, this news is absolutely devastating,” said APS CEO Kate Kirby. “Her passing leaves a gaping hole in our physics community and in our hearts.”

Jin received her A.B. from Princeton in 1990 and her Ph.D. in physics from the University of Chicago in 1995. She was involved in the early work at JILA in ultracold atom research and Bose-Einstein condensates with Eric Cornell and Carl Wieman. She turned to the study of ultracold fermionic gases and in 2003 her group made the first fermionic condensate.

“Debbie, quite simply, changed cold atom physics in wonderful and lasting ways whose importance cannot be overstated,” her NIST colleague and Nobel laureate William Phillips wrote in an email. “Her pioneering of degenerate Fermi gases, paired Fermi condensates, the observation of the BCS-BEC crossover, and so much more, enriched the field and all of us.”


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Editor: David Voss
Staff Science Writer: Rachel Gaal
Contributing Correspondent: Alaina G. Levine
Art Director and Special Publications Manager: Kerry G. Johnson
Publication Designer and Production: Nancy Bennett-Karasik

Deborah Jin
Photo: JILA

Deborah Jin

Additional Information

Gray Arrow JILA article about Deborah Jin
Gray Arrow APS Goeppert Mayer Award
Gray Arrow APS I. I. Rabi Prize