July 2006 Newsletter

Inside this Issue

Executive Committee

Timothy Gay, Chair
Pierre Meystre, Vice Chair
William C. Stwalley, Chair-Elect
David R. Schultz, Secretary/Treasurer

From the Chair

Tim Gay

AMO physics is hot. Consider just some of the most recent evidence: in the last 10 years, almost one-third (31%) of the new Nobel Laureates in physics have won the prize for work in our field. Four AMO Scientists are MacArthur Fellows. Perhaps even more compelling is the growing attendance at the DAMOP Meeting (see figure below). From the cozy meetings with 300 participants that some of the older members of our Division remember attending as children, we have increased in size to the point that meetings with 750 to 800 attendees are typical. The latest meeting in Knoxville was, in addition to being a huge success scientifically, simply huge. The registered attendance was 945! It is clear that excitement about relatively new fields such as attosecond science, high energy density phenomena, and quantum information are driving much of this growth. At the same time, more traditional areas including collisions and precision measurements are maintaining strong interest levels as well. It is clear that in the immediate future, we will have to plan for meetings exceeding 1000 participants, and deal with the attendant logistics and organizational issues.


This is a good problem to have, but it is a problem. Given the scientific input for the Knoxville meeting, the Program Committee was forced to reject many good proposals for invited talks, and as many as 6 parallel sessions had to be planned within a given time slot. The Educators' Day and Student Tutorials, held on Tuesday, were very successful, but had the effect of lengthening the meeting to five full days for a large number of people. We have strong ties with the Quantum Information and Precision Measurements Topical Groups. Any joint meetings with them in the future will further expand the size of our meeting. The prospect of adding another full day to the meeting has been discussed at length by the Executive Committee.

One “safety valve” for our May/June meeting is the APS March Meeting. The DAMOP participation in this meeting has grown dramatically over the last few years, due in large part to the efforts of Charles Clark, Allan Griffin, and Murray Holland, and driven by the mutual interest in BEC between the condensed matter and AMO communities. At the 2006 March Meeting in Baltimore, the number of DAMOP members attending was almost half that of our regular meeting. Over the next few years, we will need to continue to critically evaluate our relationship with that meeting.

Through all of this, though, we need to keep our eye on the ball. The purpose of DAMOP is to facilitate scientific interaction between its members and publicize the excitement of our field. Our job of running meetings exists solely to facilitate this. Decisions that we make about meeting formats, times, and lengths need to be made with this foremost in our minds.

Have a great summer!

DAMOP Officers, Committees

Election Results

The results of the 2006 Election of Officers were announced during the Business Meeting of the DAMOP Annual Meeting in Knoxville and we warmly welcome and congratulate Pierre Meystre as Vice Chair, Maria Allegrini and Thomas Killian as new Executive Committee Members, and Paul Julienne as APS Councilor from DAMOP. We also thank greatly the runners-up for these positions who were, respectively, Gerald Gabrielse, Ignacio Cirac and Robin Cote, and Daniel Heinzen. As always, the vote counts were close and were testimony to the respect and appreciation we all have for the slate of candidates.

Voting took place by electronic ballot again this year and most feedback was quite positive about the process. Almost 22 percent of the DAMOP membership voted, which is just slightly above average for the past decade.

DAMOP's committee membership is also presently being renewed. Most committees have members with staggered terms and so each year the Chair line and the committee chairpersons add new members. The members of the various committees will be listed on the DAMOP Governance website and we hope to have this webpage updated before the end of August.

Thanks to Outgoing Committee Members

This is also a good time to thank all of our members that served in elected or appointed positions and have terms that have ended. These include our past Chair, Charles Clark who did a remarkable and inspiring job this past year and throughout his three year passage through the Chair line. Thanks also to the following: Lou DiMauro and Lee Collins (Executive Committee), Kate Kirby (APS Councilor through January 2007), Ron Walsworth (Nominating Committee), Peter Mohr and John Bohn (Fellowship Committee), Carlos Reinhold, Ron Walsworth, Carlton Caves, and Thad Walker (Program Committee), Don Madison (Education Committee), Steve Manson and Chris Monroe (Thesis Prize Committee), Ron Phaneuf and Charles Clark (Davisson-Germer Prize Committee), and Rainer Johnson, Steve Buckman, and Bill McConkey (Allis Prize Committee).

DAMOP 2006 Potpourri

DAMOP 2006 attendee

DAMOP 2006 Teachers' Day workshop



Report on the Meeting
Joe Macek



The 2006 DAMOP meeting, held from 16-20 May 2006 at the Knoxville Convention Center in Knoxville, was a lively gathering of 945 AMO scientists. There were 68 invited talks, and 750 oral and poster presentations in the 3 1/2 day meeting. Of the 945 registrants, 375 were students. Participants came from nearly every one of the 50 states and 36 foreign countries.

In addition to the new physics presented in the regular program several special scientific events were featured. On the Tuesday before the conference the DAMOP organizers featured an Educators' day for high school teachers. The dean of the UT arts and sciences college provided support for and personally invited every high school teacher in the state of Tennessee to participate in a stimulating workshop organized by Steve Rolston of the University of Maryland featuring presentations by Tim Gay (University of Nebraska), Ed Lee (APS), William Phillips (NIST), Lou Bloomfield (University of Virginia) and David Taylor (American Association of Physics Teachers). The executive committee of the DAMOP and other members of the AMO community shared a lunch with high school science teachers and welcomed them to the workshop held at the Knoxville Convention Center.

Lou Bloomfield illustrating balance at the Educators' day workshop.

Lou Bloomfield illustrating balance at the Educators' day workshop.

Student tutorials were also featured for the Tuesday before the meeting. The workshop was organized by Predrag Krstic of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the first part featured lectures at the University of Tennessee Nielsen Physics Bldg by Nick Biglow on “Ultracold Polar Molecule: From Cold Chemistry to Molecule Chips,” Jerry Gabrielse: “Setting a Trap for Antimatter” and Bill McCurdy: “Using Advanced Computation to Solve the Coulomb Breaking Problem.” The lectures were followed by a tour of the ORNL Spallation Neutron Source, the Center for Nanophase Materials and the ORNL Computing Center. The tours were open to all participants and 88 conferees took advantage of the opportunity to see the research facilities at ORNL.

Joe Macek and Jim McGuire welcoming Phil Bredesen, Governor of Tennessee to DAMOP

Joe Macek and Jim McGuire welcoming Phil Bredesen,
Governor of Tennessee to DAMOP.

The conference was opened by Phil Bredesen, the Governor of Tennessee, who emphasized the need to communicate the significance of AMO research to citizens of the State and Nation. Following the Governor's remarks the conference began with a plenary session honoring APS prize winners Lew Cocke (Kansas State University), Rainer Grobe (Illinois State University), Q. Charles Su (Illinois State University) and Paul Corkum (National Research Council of Canada).

Lew Cocke illustrating the motion of atoms and ions.

Lew Cocke illustrating the motion of atoms and ions.

During the conference there was a public lecture Wednesday evening by Professor Tim Gay of the University of Nebraska on “Football Physics” and on Thursday evening there was a Nobel symposium featuring popular talks by Nobel Laureates William Phillips and Eric Cornell. The lectures were followed by a reception open to the public.

Nobel Laureate William Phillips illustrating the effect of low temperatures on the tools of everyday life

Nobel Laureate William Phillips illustrating the effect of
low temperatures on the tools of everyday life.

The Friday evening banquet featured Patricia M. Dehmer, Associate Director, Office of Basic Energy Sciences of the U.S. Department of Energy who spoke on “The Making of the American Competitiveness Initiative: How Societal Needs and Science Got Together and What it Means for You.” She emphasized the bipartisan support of science in the executive and congressional branches of the U. S. government. Tennessee legislators from both the Democratic and Republican parties supported this major new initiative.

Keynote speaker Pat Dehmer greeting the banquet attendees in the course of her address

Keynote speaker Pat Dehmer greeting the
banquet attendees in the course of her address.

Undergraduate Research Session

DAMOP was pleased to continue the tradition of having a special session to highlight research performed by undergraduate students. This year's presentations were made by Sawyer Campbell (Illinois State University), Dimitri Dounas-Frazer (Colorado School of Mines), Jamie Kapplinger (Augustana College), Brian Neyenhuis (Brigham Young University), and Michael Wall (Auburn University). Thanks to the Education Committee, Don Griffin, Don Madison, and Allen Landers, for arranging this session. The students were given travel support to attend the meeting and were presented with a plaque. The future looks bright!

Thesis Prize

Also showing the great promise of the next generation of AMO scientists was the Thesis Prize session. The finalists were Yong-Il Shin (MIT), Brian Odom (Harvard), Thomas Pohl (ITAMP), and Oren Cohen (Technion, Israel institute of Technology). The Thesis Prize Committee, Steve Manson, Chris Monroe, Janine Shertzer, Aephraim Steinberg, and Barry Walker, worked hard to choose these finalists from the excellent nominations and equally hard to select the winner, Brian Odom. Each of the finalists is offered travel support to attend DAMOP and the winner receives a certificate and a $2500 honorarium. Congratulations to all of the finalists!

Steve Manson, Thesis Prize Committee Chair, congratulating the 2006 finalists at the banquet

Steve Manson, Thesis Prize Committee Chair,
congratulating the 2006 finalists at the banquet.

Student Support for Travel to DAMOP

One of the most satisfying parts of the success of the DAMOP meeting in Knoxville was the tremendous number of student registrations, 40 percent of the total. Student participation has been helped by generous support for the past several meetings by grants from NSF and from NIST. These valuable supplements to what academic advisors can provide assist students that might not otherwise be able to attend. This year these grants allowed DAMOP to support 46 students in the amount of $500 each. One hundred students applied for this support. Thanks to the NSF and NIST, and to the Education Committee (in particular, Allen Landers) for facilitating these grants.

Pat Dehmer's Keynote Presentation

A number of people have requested a copy of Pat's informative talk on the American Competitiveness Initiative and what it means for AMO scientists. The MS Powerpoint presentation (16.2 MB) is available at
http://www.science.doe.gov/bes/presentations/ppt/DAMOP_Dehmer_19MAY06.ppt .

Physical Review Session for Authors and Referees
George Basbas for Gordon Drake, Lee Collins, and Frank Narducci

DAMOP 2006 also marked another first, a special session for referees and authors of manuscripts seeking publication in the Physical Review.

The session was well attended; the audience was estimated to be 80-100.   There was crowding in the rear of the room, reflecting the usual reluctance of people to move forward to find seats and, perhaps, the location of refreshments. The questions asked of the panelists by the audience were good, reasonable, and the kind of queries an editor might hope for.

The session was lively and the response afterwards was enthusiastic.  Several of the organizers received compliments on the session and were urged to repeat it at the next DAMOP meeting.

DAMOP/DAMP 2007 Announced

Rob Thompson, local chair of the upcoming joint meeting of DAMOP and DAMP, did a great job of “getting the word out” through presentations to the Executive Committee and at the Business Meeting, along with distribution of handy “DAMOP/DAMP 2007” cards. Please see http://phas.ucalgary.ca/DAMOP07/ , the conference website, for advanced information about the environs and the meeting, which is scheduled for June 5-9, 2007 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

As was the case with the Knoxville meeting, the invited scientific sessions at the Calgary meeting will be determined solely by nominations submitted to the APS March Meeting website. The URL and opening date for this website are as yet undetermined, but it is likely that submissions will be accepted between approximately 1 August and the deadline of 29 September 2006. (Contributed talks for the Calgary meeting must be submitted later in the year on a different website.) Notification of the details will be sent to the membership when they become available. The web nomination procedure has the advantage that it largely opens up and democratizes the program process, and eliminates much of the “old-boy network” that was used in the past. The web system can only be effective, however, if people actually SUBMIT proposals. The working rule that the Program Committee has strictly abided by is that no person who has not been nominated either in the body of a full symposium proposal or as an individual speaker can be asked to speak, with the exception of prize (APS or Nobel!) winners. If you do not want to submit a full symposium proposal, but know a few great speakers, you may nominate them individually.

For Knoxville, the Program Committee received a large number of very good proposals. They received so many, in fact, that many had to be rejected, or similar proposals combined. The best way to ensure that a symposium proposal will be accepted in its entirety, without revision by the Program Committee, is to make a compelling case for the scientific coherence and importance of your speaker topic list, and to provide a full slate of speakers, preferably who have already expressed willingness to speak. (In contacting potential speakers, it is important to tell them that your inquiry does not constitute an official invitation to speak; only APS can do that.)

We Hear That…

Charles Clark

STEVEN GIRVIN and ERIC HELLER were elected to the National Academy of Sciences… MARGARET MURNANE became a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences… STEPHEN BARNETT became a Fellow of the Royal Society…

ARTUR EKERT will return in the autumn to Oxford University after several years at Cambridge University… JAY VAISHNAV will take up a National Research Council postdoctoral research associateship at NIST towards the end of the year… CARL WIEMAN is to join the faculty of the University of British Columbia and build up a physics education research program there; he has also agreed to organize Educators' Day at the 2007 DAMOP Annual Meeting in Calgary . . .

CARL WILLIAMS received the Arthur S. Flemming Award… ALBERT PARR received the Physical Sciences Award of the Washington Academy of Sciences…

RAINER DUMKE has joined the faculty of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore…

MARK EDWARDS is to marry Kathleen Comerford, a professor of history at Georgia Southern University…

Computations in Quantum Many-Body Physics, a workshop in honor of BARRY SCHNEIDER's 65th birthday, took place in Santa Fe, NM at the end of June…

CHARLES CLARK spent three days at sea in January aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Saipan, as part of the Office of Naval Research's “Scientists to Sea” program…

The Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics plans to discontinue publication of Letters, as part of a plan to create a European letters journal that will compete with Physical Review Letters…

If he is still alive, ETTORE MAJORANA celebrates his 100th birthday on August 5; in honor of the occasion, the Italian Physical Society is publishing his collected papers, along with English translations and commentaries – several of these are foundational contributions to atomic physics, including the first theoretical treatment of autoionization, identification of “Majorana transitions” of atoms in a varying magnetic field, and first-principles atomic structure calculations using Fermi's statistical model of the atom …

Ben Bederson, Celebrated

Henry Stroke

Ben Bederson, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of the APS, was honored at a luncheon in Knoxville during the DAMOP meeting, on the occasion of the publication of Volume 51 of Advances in Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics , which is dedicated to him. Ben is Professor Emeritus at New York University, where he had been Chairman of the Department of Physics and Dean of the Graduate School. Among his many activities are the founding of the International Conference on the Physics of Electronic and Atomic Collisions (ICPEAC) and the organization of the First International Conference on Atomic Physics (ICAP). A major part of Ben's research was with use of atomic beams - for magnetic resonance, electron-atom scattering, and dipole polarizability studies. For the latter measurements, he invented the E-H gradient balance method. Ben was Editor of the Advances series for many years, and earlier of Comments on Atomic and Molecular Physics.

The book, edited by Henry Stroke, presented formally at the luncheon, contains articles by colleagues who have known Ben under different conditions: in the military at Los Alamos (Val Fitch), through publications (Harry Lustig, Eugen Merzbacher, Bernd Craseman), in administration and public service (C. Duncan Rice, Neal Lane), and through Ben's current activity – the history of physics (Roger Stuewer). Theoretical contributions in the volume are by Larry Spruch (Casimir), X. Chu and Alex Dalgarno (polarizabilities), Marlan Scully, et al. (molecular bonds). Experimental articles are by Herbert Walther (resonance fluorescence), Jacques Pinard and Henry Stroke (radioactive atoms), Thomas Miller (electron attachment/detachment), Miller and Harvey Gould (polarizabilities), Robert Celotta and Joseph Stroscio (moving atoms on surfaces), Chun Lin and John Boffard (electron-impact excitations), Edward Pollack (atom and ion collisions), Lepvsa Vuvskovic and Svetozar Popovic (ionizing shock waves in a gas), Heinz Kleinpoppen, et al., (scatteriing). A final paper by Richard Collins is devoted to teaching.

The intimate luncheon, organized locally by Joseph Macek, with the able help of Joyce Satterfield, gathered a small number of former colleagues, students and associates of Ben for a fitting celebration.

Conferences and Other Announcements

Fourth International Conference on Trapped Charged Particles and Fundamental Physics (TCP'06)
Gerald Gwinner

The next International Conference on Trapped Charged Particles and Fundamental Physics (TCP'06) will take place in Parksville on Vancouver Island, Canada from the 3rd to the 8th of September 2006. Topics include fundamental interactions and symmetries, QED effects, quantum state manipulation and quantum information, precision spectroscopy and frequency standards, storage ring physics, highly charged ions in traps, traps for radioactive isotopes, plasmas and collective behavior, and anti-hydrogen. More information can be found at http://www.triumf.info/hosted/TCP06/index.html .

Metropolis Award
Ann Orel

The due date for the Nicholas Metropolis Award for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Work in Computational Physics has been extended to August 15th . Details on the prize and application procedure can be found on the APS website