Center News

Carl Lineberger Awarded a 2015 Dynamics of Molecular Collisions Medal
Published: 07-22-2015

JILA Fellow W. Carl Lineberger has been awarded the 2015 Dudley Herschbach Prize for Experiment, which includes a Dynamics of Molecular Collisions Medal. Lineberger is E. U. Condon Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The 2015 Dudley Herschbach Prize for Theory and a Dynamics of Molecular Collisions Medal were given to Millard Alexander, University of Maryland Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

The pair of awards has been presented every two years since 2007 for “bold and architectural work, inspiring and empowering. Such work addresses fundamental, challenging, frontier questions; brings forth new perspectives and capabilities; and typically excites evangelical fervor that recruits many followers,” Herschbach states on the Dynamics of Molecular Collisions Medals website.

Lineberger currently serves as a Member of the National Science Board and its Executive Committee, the National Research Council Laboratory Assessments Board, and the Advisory Editorial Board of Chemical Physics Letters. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; he is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science as well as a member of the American Chemical Society. Lineberger has  won many awards during his illustrious career, including the Herbert P. Broida Prize in Atomic and Molecular Spectroscopy or Chemical Physics from the American Physical Society, the William F. Meggers Prize from the Optical Society of America, and the American Chemical Society’s Irving Langmuir Prize in Chemical Physics and Peter Debye Award in Physical Chemistry.

Deborah Jin to Become Chair-Elect of the APS Nominating Committee
Published: 07-20-2015

Deborah Jin has been selected as chair-elect of the American Physical Society (APS) Nominating Committee. Beginning January 1, 2016, she will serve one year as Chair Elect, a year as Chair, and a year as Past Chair of the committee. The committee is charged with preparing a slate of at least two candidates for the positions of Vice President, Treasurer, Chair Elect of the Nominating Committee, and the vacant positions of General Councilor and International Councilor for APS elections each year. 

"The American Physical Society is a great resource for our community and an important advocate for physics," Jin wrote in her candidate statement. She added that the success of APS is built on the willingness of its members to serve in various capacities. Jin is a Fellow of JILA, a Fellow of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and an adjoint professor of physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She earned a Bachelor's in physics from Princeton University and a doctorate in physics from the University of Chicago. 

At JILA, Jin investigates the behavior of atomic and molecular gases at ultracold temperatures. She is recognized for the creation of the world's first ultracold gas of fermions and a superfluid of paired fermions. In collaboration with Jun Ye, she created and explores the behavior of ultracold potassium-rubidium molecules.

Jin is a Fellow of APS and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Her many accolades include a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship (a.k.a. "genius grant"), the APS Maria Goeppert Mayer Award, the Service to America Medal: Science; the APS I. I. Rabi Award, the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics, Sigma Xi's William Proctor Prize for Scientific Achievement, a Department of Commerce Gold Medal, the L'Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science Award for North America, and the National Academy of Sciences Comstock Prize.


Margaret Murnane Awarded Honorary Doctorate from Trinity College Dublin
Published: 07-06-2015

Margaret Murnane was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Trinity College Dublin on June 26, 2015. The entire ceremony was conducted in Latin and included a lively presentation of Murnane's accomplishments in laser science. It began, "Lucida diei patefacere res omnes quae oculis videantur," or "We see and understand the world through light," the words spoken by Murnane to open her lecture at the American Physical Society in March 2015. The Trinity College presentation went on to cite her ground-breaking work in laser science that has transformed the field of ultrafast laser and x-ray science. She has not only engaged in fundamental research, but also used her discoveries to found a start-up company (KMLabs) with her collaborator and husband, Henry Kapteyn. Murnane has published more than 200 scientific papers and given more than 300 presentations worldwide. 

She has been able to capture the movements of the smallest particles in nature, including the dance of electrons in atoms and molecules. She has engineered coherent x-ray beams that can distinguish important biomolecules. Her accomplishments are expected to have applications ranging from entertainment to surgery and new pharmaceuticals. 

Murnane was born in County Limerick, Ireland, and fell in love with science when she was 8 years old. Her passion for discovery took her first to University College Cork, then to the University of California at Berkeley for graduate work, and then to academic positions at Washington State University, the University of Michigan, and finally to the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she is Distinguished Professor of Physics and Fellow of JILA. Murnane has received 30 awards and honors for her accomplishments, including the 2011 Boyle Medal of the Royal Dublin Society.

"She is an enthusiastic supporter of the Trinity School of Physics, but, more than anything else, she is a shining model for women in science," the presentation concluded. 


Margaret Murnane awarded University College Dublin Honorary Degree
Published: 06-25-2015

University College Dublin conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Science on Margaret Murnane, June 16, 2015, at a ceremony on the campus in Dublin, Ireland. This award, the highest awarded by the university, is given to remarkable individuals who have achieved distinction in their fields of endeavour. It is given on Bloomsday in honor of UCD alum James Joyce.

NSF highlights the Ye Lab's development of laser frequency comb applications
Published: 06-23-2015

A National Science Foundation Discovery feature highlights the work of the Ye Lab in their dramatic development of laser frequency comb applications that have, according to the article "transformed basic scientific research and led to new technologies in so many different fields--timekeeping, medical research, communications, remote sensing, astronomy, just to name a few."

Learn more about this research by reading the article, Combing frequencies: NSF-funded center provides spectrum of new research, technology.

Ana Maria Rey Awarded APS Fellowship
Published: 03-30-2015

Ana Maria Rey has been awarded an APS Fellowship by the American Physical Society. The award cited "her pioneering research on developing fundamental understanding and control of novel quantum systems and finding applications for a wide range of scientific fields including quantum metrology and the emerging interface between Atomic, Molecular, and Optical physics, condensed matter, and quantum information science." 

Rey will receive her APS Fellowship at the 46th Annual Division of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics (DAMOP) Meeting in Columbus, Ohio, held June 8–12, 2015.


Carl Lineberger Wins NAS Award in Chemical Sciences
Published: 01-22-2015

Carl Lineberger has won the 2015 National Academy of Sciences Award in Chemical Sciences. The award was given for his "development of molecular negative ion photoelectron spectroscopy, and the fundamental insights into molecular electron affinities and intramolecular dynamics derived therefrom." Lineberger is the E. U. Condon Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a Fellow of JILA. The award is presented with a medal and a $15,000 cash prize.

Lineberger developed negative ion photoelectron spectroscopy. Scientists can use this technique to determine the electron affinity of the neutral version of an atom or molecule. Electron affinity—the change in energy that occurs when an electron is added to an atom or molecule—provides important information about atoms and molecules and how they interact in chemical reactions. The "periodic table" of atomic electronic affinities now included in general chemistry textbooks is founded on Lineberger’s early work with negative ion photoelectron spectroscopy. His development of anion photoelectron spectroscopy as a tool to study small molecules has provided both an important method to characterize highly reactive, short-lived species known as free radicals as well as a new, direct way to observe the structure and evolution of molecules in the process of undergoing a chemical reaction. Lineberger’s experimental methods are now in widespread use in laboratories worldwide.

The NAS Award in Chemical Sciences was first awarded in 1979 to Linus Pauling for his studies, which elucidated in structural terms the properties of stable molecules of progressively higher significance to the chemical, geological, and biological sciences. The NAS Award in Chemical Sciences award has continued to recognize some of the greatest chemists in the past few decade as 14 recipients have been honored with a National Medal of Science, and six recipients have received a Nobel Prize in Chemistry (Taube 1983; Hoffmann 1981; Brown 1979; Cram 1987; Zewail 1999; Sharpless 2001).

The NAS Award in Chemical Sciences is presented annually to honor innovative research in the chemical sciences that contributes to a better understanding of the natural sciences and to the benefit of humanity. The NAS Award in Chemical Sciences was established in 1978 and supported by Occidental Petroleum Corporation from 1978 to 1996. The Merck Company Foundation assumed sponsorship in 1999. 

Dana Anderson Wins CO-LABS 2014 Governor’s Award
Published: 10-14-2014

Fellow Dana Anderson has won a CO-LABS 2014 Governor’s Award for High-Impact Research in Foundational Technology. Anderson’s work in the commercialization of cold-atom technology also received an Honorable Mention for the development of a strong public/private partnership.

Anderson will be recognized on November 12 when CO-LABS and the Alliance for Sustainable Energy host a night at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to honor the achievements of Colorado’s federally funded research centers.

In bestowing the award, CO-LABS highlighted Anderson’s work on the practical applications of cold-atom technology. Applications include the development of cold-atom inertial sensors and the creation of a cold-atom research module to be placed on the International Space Station in 2016. In the future, Anderson’s cutting-edge research in cold-atom technology may lead to revolutionary advances in navigation and guidance, gas exploration, advanced communication technologies, and quantum computing.

Anderson co-founded the company ColdQuanta, which was recently named Boulder Company of the Year by the University of Colorado’s Technology Transfer Office.

CO-LABS is a nonprofit organization that works to inform the public about the breakthroughs and impacts from Colorado’s 30 federally funded labs and research facilities. The CO-LABS consortium includes Colorado federal research laboratories, research universities, state and local governments, economic development organizations, private businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Margaret Murnane Wins Moore Investigator Award
Published: 10-08-2014

Fellow Margaret Murnane has won a Moore Experimental Investigator in Quantum Materials Award from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (Palo Alto, CA). The award is part of the foundation’s $90 million Emergent Phenomena in Quantum Systems Initiative. It is designed to facilitate scientific breakthroughs by giving Murnane and other awardees the opportunity to take risks, collaborate with other scientists, and develop new experimental techniques for exploring the physics of quantum materials.

Murnane was selected for the five-year award after a national competition.

Kevin Cox receives poster prize at ICAP
Published: 08-21-2014

Graduate student Kevin Cox, of the Thompson Lab, received an "ICAP 2014 Best Poster Presentation" award at this year's International Conference on Atomic Physics in Washington DC. His poster was entitled:  "Synchronization in Superradiant Lasers".

Adam Kaufman receives poster prize at ICAP
Published: 08-19-2014

Graduate student Adam Kaufman received one of the poster prizes awarded at this year's International Conference on Atomic Physics in Washington DC.  His poster was entitled:  "Atomic Hong-Ou-Mandel effect in tunnel-coupled optical tweezers".

Rob Walder Wins Best Poster Award
Published: 07-24-2014

NRC post-doc Rob Walder has won a “Best Poster” award at the Single Molecule Approaches to Biology Gordon Research Conference in Italy for his poster entitled  “An Ultrastable Platform for Single Molecule Measurements: Sub-Nanometer Drift in 3D for Hours.” Walder works with the Perkins group.

Jun Ye & Debbie Jin named "Most Influential Scientific Minds 2014"
Published: 07-09-2014

A newly released report from Thomson Reuters on "The World's Most Influential Scientific Minds 2014" includes JILAns Jun Ye and Debbie Jin. The selection of scientists for the report was based on an analysis of Web of Science  and InCites citation reports for an 11-year period to identify those researchers who published the highest impact work from 2002–2012 and 2012–2013. The report concludes that these individuals are "influencing the future direction of their fields, and of the world."


Deborah Jin Awarded Isaac Newton Medal
Published: 07-01-2014

Deborah Jin has won the 2014 Isaac Newton Medal, the highest accolade given by the Institute of Physics. She was cited for her experimental work in laser cooling atoms. This work has led to the practical demonstration of universal laws that upderpin fundamental quantum behavior. 

"Professor Jin is an outstanding, clever, creative scientist," said Prof. Ed Hinds of the Imperial College London. "Her incredibly complex experiments have significantly advanced our understanding of the behavior of electrons in materials. Through her laser cooling of atoms, she has shown that half-integer spin fermions can be coupled to behave like full integer spin bosons.

"These fermion condensates and the work that she has undertaken on extremely cold polar molecules have helped us go deep into the quantum world, a world that we're only just starting to understand in complex many-body systems. Her work is likely to lead to profound advances in measuring and sensing, as well as quantum computing."

The IOP citation states, Ultracold Fermi gases now represent one of the major activities in all of atomic physics, an activity where Jin remains the leader and pioneer.

Tom Perkins Receives Arthur S. Flemming Award
Published: 06-17-2014

Thomas Perkins received the 2013 Arthur S. Flemming Award at a Washington, D. C., ceremony on June 9. The award was one of 12 given this year to honor outstanding Federal employees in their first 15 years of Federal service. Dr. David Bray, Chief Information Officer for the Federal Communications Commission and a 2012 Flemming Award winner, was the keynote speaker at the event.

“It was a wonderful surprise to receive a 2013 Arthur S. Flemming award," Perkins said. "It is an honor to join such a distinguished group of federal employees, including many JILA/NIST colleagues. I am thankful to my group for all their hard work that made it possible and to NIST management for taking the time to recognize individual scientists.”

Perkins joins JILAns David Nesbitt (1991), Debbie Jin (2003) and Jun Ye (2005) as well as Lewis Branscomb, Pete Bender, David Hummer, and Steve Leone as a winner of this prestigious award.

The Arthur S. Flemming Awards were established by the Downtown Jaycees in 1948 to recognize outstanding performance in all areas of the Federal service. Past award recipients include Daniel Patrick Moynihan, John Chancellor, Neil Armstrong, Elizabeth Dole, and Nobel Laureate William Phillips of NIST Gaithersburg. More than 500 individuals have received this award since it was established.

Support for the Flemming Awards is provided by Federal Management Systems, Inc. and the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy & Public Administration at the George Washington University.

Henry Kapteyn, Margaret Murnane, and Dana Anderson Capture CU-Boulder Technology Transfer Awards
Published: 04-22-2014

The University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office (TTO) presented awards to Henry C. Kapteyn, Margaret Murnane, and Dana Anderson on April 24 for representing the spirit of innovation at CU-Boulder and best practices in commercialization of university technologies, according to a press release issued by TTO on April 21. 

TTO recognized Henry C. Kapteyn and Margaret Murnane as its Inventors of the Year, CU-Boulder. The two researchers are Fellows of JILA and physics professors at CU Boulder. Their joint group develops ultrafast lasers, including devices that produce coherent laser-like x-ray beams. These technologies have applications in research on natural processes and in the visualization of nanoscale processes important for the development of nano devices. In 1994, Kapteyn and Murnane founded KMLabs to commercialize their ultrafast lasers and make them available to academic and industry researchers. Recently, they have sold their devices to companies developing technologies such as micromachining.

TTO also recognized Cold Quanta, co-founded by Fellow Dana Anderson, as Boulder Company of the Year. ColdQuanta manufactures cutting-edge cold- and ultracold-atom technologies. These technologies incorporate Bose-Einstein condensates, a new form of matter created at temperatures just above absolute zero. Applications for ColdQuanta technologies include atomic clocks, navigation systems for submarines and spacecraft, and quantum computing. The opportunity to realize these advanced systems grew out of decades of research by Anderson, who is also a CU-Boulder physics professor.

"TTO is pleased to highlight the contributions that (JILA) researchers and companies have made to their fields," said MaryBeth Vellequette, director of technology transfer for Cu-Boulder. "Their commitment to creating real-world impact for their (research) deserves recognition."

Cindy Regal Receives 2014 Cottrell Scholars Award
Published: 02-20-2014

Cindy Regal has been selected to receive a 2014 Cottrell Scholars Award from the Research Corporation for Science and Advancement. The Cottrell Scholar Awards are given to early career faculty members who excel at both research and teaching. The awards target scholarship designed to improve undergraduate science education at research universities in the United States.

Deborah Jin Awarded Comstock Prize in Physics
Published: 01-16-2014

Deborah Jin has been awarded the 2014 Comstock Prize in Physics by the National Academy of Sciences. The Comstock Prize recognizes an innovative discovery by a North American resident in the fields of electricity, magnetism, or radiant energy.

Jin received this year’s Comstock Prize for “demonstrating quantum degeneracy and the formation of a molecular Bose-Einstein condensate in ultracold fermionic atoms gases, and for pioneering work in polar molecular quantum chemistry.” The honor includes a 25,000 prize and an additional $25,000 to support the recipient’s research.

”We are delighted that Debbie’s world leadership in ultracold atoms and molecules has been recognized with this major award,” said Tom O’Brian, Chief of the Quantum Physics Division, the NIST part of JILA.

Jin will receive the award at a ceremony in Washington, DC on Sunday April 27, 2014, during the Academy’s annual meeting. Jin was elected in 2005 to membership in the Academy, one of the youngest women to be elected to this leading organization of prestigious scientists. However, all North American residents are eligible for the Comstock Prize, and academy membership is not a criterion for selection. 

The Comstock Prize was established through a fund established by Cyrus B. Comstock, a prominent member of the academy and Colonel in the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers who passed away in 1910. The Comstock Prize has been awarded about every five years since 1913.

Steve Cundiff Named IEEE Fellow
Published: 01-14-2014

Steve Cundiff was named an IEEE Fellow on January 1, 2014. In electing him as a Fellow, the Board of Directors of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. cited him "for contributions to self-referenced optical frequency combs and ultrafast nonlinear solid-state spectroscopy."

"I am delighted to share the good news with you and to congratulate you on having this distinguished individual on your staff," said J. Roberto B. de Marca, IEEE President and CEO in a letter to Thomas O'Brian, chief of NIST's Quantum Physics Division here at JILA.

The IEEE Fellowship is one of the most prestigious honors of the IEEE. It is bestowed upon a limited number of Senior Members who have made outstanding contributions to the electrical and information technologies and sciences for the benefit of humanity and the profession. Only about one-tenth of one percent of IEEE members become Fellows.

Ana Maria Rey to Receive 2013 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers
Published: 12-30-2013

President Barack Obama has named Ana Maria Rey as one of 102 recipients of the 2013 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. This award is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their research careers. Rey will receive her award at a Washington, DC ceremony in 2014.

"The impressive achievements of these early-stage scientists and engineers are promising indicators of even greater successes ahead," said President Obama. "We are grateful for their commitment to generating the scientific and technical advancements that will ensure America's global leadership for many years to come."

The awards reflect the Obama administration's priority of producing outstanding scientists and engineers to advance our nation's goals, tackle grand challenges, and contribute to the American economy. They were established by President Clinton in 1996 and are coordinated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President.

Konrad Lehnert Named Fellow of the American Physical Society
Published: 12-12-2013

Konrad Lehnert has been named a Fellow of the American Physical Society! Lehnert was elected “for developing experimental methods that enable the quantum control and measurement of micro-mechanical oscillators and for developing practical microwave amplifiers that operate at the quantum limit.”

Eric Cornell Featured in NOVA’s Making Stuff Colder on October 30, 2013
Published: 11-04-2013

Eric Cornell offered clever and interesting insights into ultracold matter as part of David Pogue’s Making Stuff Colder, aired on PBS on October 30, 2013. The show’s premise is taking a journey down a thermometer to lower and lower temperatures to see what new discoveries in science and technology are taking place as things get colder.  It’s a delightful trip. JILAns, in particular, will find it worth watching the entire show all the way down to absolute zero.

Ana Maria Rey Named 2014 MacArthur Foundation Fellow
Published: 09-25-2013

Theorist Ana Maria Rey has received a 2014 MacArthur Fellowship, or “Genius Grant.” She is the third JILA Fellow to win a genius grant, joining Deborah Jin (2003) and Margaret Murnane (2000). The MacArthur Fellowship includes a $625,000 unrestricted grant. Rey was cited for being an “atomic Physicist advancing our ability to simulate, manipulate, and control novel states of matter through fundamental conceptual research on ultra-cold atoms.”

Rey works across the disciplines of atomic, molecule, optical, and condensed-matter physics. Her aim is to use mathematical models to describe the complex behavior of nature. Her research on ultracold optical-lattice systems is contributing to advances in quantum simulation and quantum information. This work is expected to help experimentalists achieve large-scale quantum entanglement between atoms in the laboratory.

Rey is well known in the physics community for her collaborations within JILA and with researchers across the country and in Europe. With her insights, experimentalists are investigating the simulation, manipulation, and control of novel states of matter such as quantum magnets, superfluids, and insulators. At JILA, Rey is working with experimentalist Jun Ye on the development of a strontium-lattice optical atomic clock and two quantum simulators: the Sr-lattice clock and a second that uses ultracold polar molecules.

Rey is widely respected as a mentor for young scientists. She leads a group of graduate students and postdocs that is unusually large and productive. A recent graduate student, Michael Foss-Feig, won the 2013 Best Thesis Prize from the American Physical Society Division of AMO Physics. Ana Maria won the same Thesis Prize herself in 2005 as a University of Maryland graduate student mentored by Charles Clark of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Rey received a B.S. (1999) from the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá and a Ph.D. (2004) from the University of Maryland. She was a postdoctoral researcher (2004–2005) with NIST and a postdoctoral fellow (2005–2008) at the Institute for Theoretical Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, prior to joining the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she is currently a fellow at JILA and a research assistant professor in the Department of Physics. Rey’s salary and her research program are fully supported by NIST and her external grants.

Ana Maria Rey Wins Maria Goeppert Mayer Award
Published: 09-24-2013

Ana Maria Rey of JILA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has won the 2014 Maria Goeppert Mayer Award of the American Physical Society. Rey is one of the world’s top young theoretical physicists. Her specialty is atomic, molecular, and optical physics, an area in which she has shown a remarkable talent for suggesting practical applications of her theory to key experiments. Her hallmark collaborations at JILA and NIST include the fields of ultracold molecules, neutral-atom optical lattice atomic clocks, and quantum simulations. In addition to groundbreaking work at NIST and JILA, Rey collaborates with leading scientists around the world.

Rey is a JILA Fellow, an Associate Research Professor at the University of Colorado, and a NIST Associate. A native of Columbia, Rey joined JILA in 2008 as a CU Fellow whose salary is funded by NIST.

The Maria Goeppert Mayer Award recognizes outstanding achievement by a woman physicist in the early years of her career. The award provides opportunities for Rey to present her seminal work to others through public lectures (in the spirit of Maria Geoppert Mayer). The award consists of $2,500 plus a $4000 travel allowance that will allow Rey to give lectures at four institutions and at the meeting of the American Physical Society at which the award is bestowed. Rey will also receive a certificate citing her contributions to physics.

Deborah Jin Wins L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Award
Published: 08-27-2013

The U.S. Department of Energy today announced the members of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB). The nineteen member board comprised of scientists, business executives, academics and former government officials will serve as an independent advisory committee to Energy Secretary Moniz. Deborah Jin, a physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Professor Adjoint for Physics at the University of Colorado Boulder has been named to the committee. Jin also is a fellow of JILA, a joint institute of CU-Boulder and NIST. - See more at:


JILA’s NSF Physics Frontier Center follows University of Colorado polices for ensuring harassment-free environments.  For more detailed information please read the whole Discrimination and Harassment Policy and Procedures.