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Ultracold Atomic Gases: The Coldest Stuff in the Universe

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Clouds of atoms cooled to nanokelvin temperatures in the lab are the coldest things in the universe, and provide us with some striking manifestations of quantum mechanics. The quest to reach such low temperatures was initially motivated by the desire to observe Bose-Einstein condensation in a close to its textbook form originally envisioned in 1925, and this was eventually achieved in 1995, but then this achievement opened a whole new field of physics. These days ultracold atomic gases are used as a highly flexible experimental platform for studies of a wide range of many-body (collective) quantum phenomena, and could also find various practical applications in the near future. I will gave a very basic introduction to this field, discussing what such ultra-low temperatures mean and how they are achieved, and showing some illustrative examples of modern research.

This talk is part of the Cambridge University Physics Society series.

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