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University of Maryland Department of Physics 1117 John S. Toll Physics Building College Park , MD 20742



xxxxxxxxxxxxxOctober 2006 - Issue 50


Dear Colleagues,

Last month the Department of Physics, along with the National Institute of Standards and Technology(NIST) and the National Security Agency’s Laboratory for Physical Sciences (LPS) announced the creation of the Joint Quantum Institute, a joint research institute designed to advance quantum physics research. We are all excited about this collaboration that’s primary disciplines include atomic, molecular and optical physics, condensed matter physics and quantum information systems.

An integral component of this institute will involve the collaborations between scientists at Maryland and NIST.  In order to facilitate this level of collaboration, nine NIST fellows will serve as adjunct professors, advise graduate student research, conduct research, and enhance the intellectual climate in the Department.

They will also be given opportunities to teach, bringing new perspectives to students. This will allow them to participate in our educational mission as well as facilitate research interactions. The newly appointed adjunct faculty includes Carl Williams, Garnett Bryant, Kristian Helmerson, Paul Lett, Alan Migdall, James Porto, Eite Tiesinga, Paul Julienne and Glenn Solomon.

Students and faculty involved with the JQI will participate in the birth of the quantum computer!  This kind of computation will be so far ahead of what is possible now, it's like comparing the latest fastest CPU to the abacus.  The quantum computer will be extremely useful in simulating other quantum systems, something which is not practical now, but these are the kinds of things that are going to be necessary in order to lead to knew discoveries and new technologies.  Studies of coherent quantum systems are also speaking to philosophical issues concerning the interpretation of quantum mechanics itself, something which has been controversial since the 1920s when quantum mechanics was born. 

This is an exciting time for the department and the university and I look forward to experiencing the groundbreaking research that comes out of this collaboration. I expect to see some great science and some fantastic research opportunities for students come out of this.