Physicist Jun Ye, a Fellow of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and a Fellow of JILA, a joint institute of NIST and the University of Colorado Boulder, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Election to the academy is one of the highest honors that can be given to a U.S. scientist or engineer. New members are elected by current members in recognition of distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.
Ye is known internationally for three areas of research involving interactions of matter and light. His experimental atomic clock based on strontium atoms is one of a number of candidate systems under development at NIST and elsewhere as a potential next-generation time standard. Ye also contributes to the development and application of optical frequency combs, ultrafast laser-based tools for precisely measuring different colors of light. Most recently, Ye and colleague Deborah Jin created a new area of research on the behavior and chemistry of ultracold molecules, which may provide practical tools for "designer chemistry" and other applications.
Ye has received many previous honors, including the Department of Commerce Gold Medal, NIST's Samuel W. Stratton Award, the Optical Society of America's William F. Meggers Award, the American Physical Society's I.I. Rabi Prize, the Arthur S. Flemming Award, and the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering.
Ye was born in Shanghai, China, and earned a bachelor's degree in physics at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. In 1989 he moved to the United States and later received his Ph.D. in physics from CU-Boulder, where his thesis advisor and mentor was NIST/JILA Nobel laureate John (Jan) Hall. After postdoctoral research with Jeff Kimble at the California Institute of Technology, Ye joined the NIST staff and JILA faculty in 1999.