UT Hosts Nobel Winners, Bredesen for Physics Conference

KNOXVILLE -– An array of Nobel Laureates will join Gov. Phil Bredesen and hundreds of the country’s top physicists as the University of Tennessee will soon host the 2006 meeting of the Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics (DAMOP) of the American Physical Society.

Set for May 16-20 at the Knoxville Convention Center, the meeting will include a Nobel Symposium, featuring three former Nobel Prize winners in physics: Bill Phillips, the 1997 winner; Eric Cornell, 2002 winner; and Roy Glauber, winner of the 2005 prize. They will speak not only about the work that earned them the top scientific honor in the world, but also about the unique experience of being a Nobel Prize winner.

“Bringing DAMOP to Knoxville and to UT is a significant event,” said UT/ORNL distinguished professor and DAMOP 2006 chair Joe Macek. “It is the top meeting in the field, and the opportunities available to the general public are outstanding.”

About 800 physicists from around the world are expected to attend the event.

Physics and physical science teachers from high schools throughout the region will also have the chance to take part in Educators’ Day, a one-day workshop set for May 16. Teachers will find out the latest in physics research and have hands-on learning opportunities and interact with noted physicists.

Sponsors of the Educators’ Day include DAMOP, UT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The event is free for teachers, and travel assistance is available for those traveling more than 100 miles to Knoxville.

Meeting attendees will also tour facilities on the UT campus as well as the new Spallation Neutron Source at ORNL. The SNS, a $1.4-billion research facility, will make this area the world leader in understanding the tiniest of particles and how to make stronger and better materials for a wide variety of uses, and is managed as part of the UT-ORNL partnership.

Other notable events during the meeting:

– An opening address by Gov. Phil Bredesen, who holds a degree in physics from Harvard University. Since taking office in 2003, Bredesen has focused on education by giving teacher pay raises and expanding Tennessee’s pre-kindergarten program. He has also enhanced UT’s Distinguished Scientist program, now known as the Governor’s Chair. For the second year in a row, the state has pledged dedicated funds to recruit the best faculty from around the nation and the world to manage UT’s joint institutes with Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The positions substantially enhance UT’s academic profile and the state’s research and economic development initiatives.

– A presentation by University of Nebraska professor Tim Gay entitled “Football Physics,” an always-popular event that will be free and open to the public.

– An address at the meeting’s closing banquet by Patricia Dehmer, the Associate Director for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences, entitled “The Making of the American Competitiveness Initiative: How Societal Needs and Science Got Together and What It Means for You.” Dehmer’s office oversees facilities at ORNL and other national laboratories across the country.

UT and ORNL presenters and chairs at the conference:

– UT’s Macek, who will chair the Nobel Sympoisum.

– ORNL’s David Schultz, who will chair a session on “Atomic Physics for ITER and Other Next Step Fusion Experiments.”

– ORNL’s Carlos Reinhold, who will chair a session on “Interaction and Strong Lasers with Molecules and Clusters.”

– UT’s Ray Garrett, who will chair a session on “Nonlinear Optics and Special Topics.”

More information about the meeting, including a program and schedule of events, is available at http://www.damop2006.utk.edu/.

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Contacts:

Joe Macek (865-974-0770, jmacek@utk.edu)

Jay Mayfield (865-974-9409, jay.mayfield@tennessee.edu)