University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Abigail and John Van Vleck Lectures

Steven Chu
Theodore and Frances Geballe Professor of Physics and Applied Physics, Stanford University

Public Lecture:
4:00 p.m. Monday April 12, 2004
Room 150, Van Vleck Auditorium
"Holding on to Atoms and Molecules with Lasers: From Atomic Clocks to Watching Biomolecules Move"
Reception following lecture in room 216
4:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - Room 131
"What Can Physics Say About Life"
Pre-Colloquium tea as ususal

Steven Chu, Theodore and Frances Geballe Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Stanford University, will present the Twenty-ninth Abigail and John Van Vleck Lectures. Professor Chu is an experimental physicist specializing in the areas of Atomic, Biological and Polymer Physics. Since joining Stanford in 1987 his studies have included the theory of laser cooling for real (multi-level) atoms, the first atomic fountain and cesium frequency source and atom interferometers based on optical pulses of light. In 1989, he introduced optical tweezers methods to simultaneously visualize and manipulate individual bio-molecules. Chu and his group have also applied fluorescence microscopy in single molecule studies of protein and RNA folding, translation and proofreading by the riboosome, and vesicle fusion. Professor Chu has been recognized for his outstanding research with many awards including the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics, which he shared with William Phillips and Claude Cohen-Tannoudji.

Professor Chu received his A.B. and B.S. degrees in 1970 from the University of Rochester. He moved west for his graduate studies receiving his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1976 and continued at Berkeley as a Postdoctoral Fellow for two more years. In 1978 Professor Chu joined the technical staff of AT&T Bell Laboratories, was appointed Head of the Quantum Electronic Department in 1983 and continued in this position until he departed for Stanford in 1987. While at Bell Labs, Chu worked on the first laser spectroscopy of positronium and muonium, faster-than-light pulse propagation, the laser cooling of atoms (optical molasses), the optical trap (optical tweezers) for atoms and particles and the magneto-optic trap (MOT).

In addition to the Nobel Prize, Professor Chu has received many awards for his outstanding and innovative research work. These include Herbert Broida Prize for Spectroscopy (1987) and the Arthur Schawlow Prize for Laser Science (1994) from the American Physical Society (APS), and jointly with APS and the American Association of Physics Teachers he was named the Richtmyer Memorial Prize Lecturer (1990). He is co-recipient of the King Faisal International Prize for Science (1993). Other awards include The Optical Society of America William Meggers Award for Laser Spectroscopy (1994), the Humboldt Senior Scientist Award and the Science for Art Prize (1995) and a Guggenheim Fellowship (1996).

Professor Chu is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a foreign member of the Academia Sinica, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Korean Academy of Science and Engineering. Professor Chu is very actively involved in shaping the future of scientific research in the United States. Some of his recent activities include: NIH Advisory Committee to the Director, National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Executive Board on Physics & Astronomy, member of NAS studies on �Optical Science and Engineering� and �Free Electron Lasers�, and member of the Biophysical Journal Editorial Board. He also serves as member of the University of Rochester Board of Trustees, and on the Scientific Advisory Board of two Biotech companies.