Ian Spielman, a physicist at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), a collaboration of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Maryland at College Park, has been selected by the Maryland Academy of Sciences as the Outstanding Young Scientist for 2010. The award will be presented at a ceremony that will be held on May 20, 2010, at the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore.
By shining laser light and applying an external magnetic field with a gradient on a gas of neutral atoms in an ultracold state of matter known as a Bose-Einstein condensate, Spielman and his colleagues have synthesized an environment in which the neutral atoms act as if they were charged particles swirling in a uniform magnetic field (see "JQI Researchers Create 'Synthetic Magnetic Fields' for Neutral Atoms").
Providing new insights into the quantum physics of charged particles in magnetic fields, this work promises to shed light on complex quantum phenomena involving charged particles and potentially enable an exotic new form of quantum computing that would rely on charged particles dancing on a surface (see "Cross-Dressing Rubidium May Reveal Clues for Exotic Computing").
A page on the award can be found at www.mdsci.org/programs/OYE_OYS/CurrentWinners.html