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New Mexico State University

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Nobel laureate Steven Chu to speak at New Mexico State Nov. 2

Nobel Prize winning physicist Steven Chu will present the Gardiner Memorial Lecture at New Mexico State University on Friday, Nov. 2.

Nobel laureate Steven Chu will present the Gardiner Memorial Lecture at New Mexico State University Nov. 2.

o received the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics for the development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light, will talk about the applications of this new technology, including ultraprecise atomic clocks and new instruments of extraordinary accuracy.

His lecture, titled "Laser Cooling and Trapping: From Atomic Clocks to Watching Enzymes Work, One Molecule at a Time," will begin at 6 p.m. in the Corbett Center Auditorium. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Chu's appearance coincides with the annual meeting of the Four Corners Section of the American Physical Society, which is being held at New Mexico State Nov. 2 and 3. Physicists from New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah will attend the conference.

Chu is chairman of the physics department at Stanford University in California. He shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with two other scientists in 1997 for developing methods for cooling and trapping atoms.

Chu's talk will review how atoms can be cooled with lasers to temperatures very close to absolute zero. At these temperatures, the motion of the atoms slows to a fraction of normal and the atoms can be easily held and otherwise manipulated with light or magnetic fields.

He will discuss the applications of the technology and how the work has led him into the field of biology. His research group is developing methods to watch the folding and biological activity of individual enzymes in real time.

The Gardiner Memorial Lecture series at New Mexico State honors George W. Gardiner, who developed the university's physics department. Gardiner also founded the Physical Science Laboratory in 1946 and served as its first director.