The Optical Society and DPG Name Randall Hulet Winner of the 2017 Herbert Walther Award

5 December 2016

The Optical Society and DPG Name Randall Hulet Winner of the
2017 Herbert Walther Award

The award recognizes contributions to the field of ultracold atomic gases
WASHINGTON—The Optical Society (OSA) and the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG) announced that the 2017 Herbert Walther Award will be awarded to experimental physicist Randall Hulet, Rice University, Houston, Texas, USA, for his groundbreaking research and discovery of the Bose-Einstein condensation in an atomic gas with attractive interactions. As the Fayez Sarofim Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Randall Hulet is a pioneer researcher in experimental atomic, molecular and optical (AMO) physics. At the Hulet Lab, Rice University, he leads a team of research students in the study of collision of solitons and the detection of anti-ferromagnetic correlations. 

“Randall is highly regarded for his pioneering methods in photoassociative spectroscopy,” said Elizabeth Rogan, CEO of The Optical Society (OSA). “He was the first to witness the Bose-Einstein condensation in an atomic gas, leading to the discovery of matter-wave solitons and soliton-soliton collisions. The Optical Society is proud to award Randall Hulet, Rice University, with the 2017 Walther Award.”

Randall Hulet, Hulet Lab, Rice University, said “For nearly twenty years I have focused my research on quantum gas, specifically the field of ultracold atomic physics. New optical technologies continue to make discoveries at the atomic level possible. I am delighted to accept the 2017 Walther Award and thank the award committee for this honor.”

Hulet is best known for his early observation of Bose-Einstein condensation (BEC) in an atomic gas with attractive interactions, for observing the formation and collapse of a condensate and his development of a degenerate Bose-Fermi mixture. In Hulet’s research, he discovered the upper limit on the number of atoms within a condensate and the realization that remnants of a condensate will remain in the gas upon its collapse. His breakthroughs have garnered him multiple awards, in which he is the recipient of the Willis E. Lamb Medal for Laser Science and Quantum Optics (2011), Outstanding Referee for Physical Review and Physical Review Letters (2010), and NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal (2004). Hulet is a Fellow of The Optical Society (OSA), the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) and a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS). Currently, Hulet is acting Chair-line for APS Division of Atomic Molecular, and Optical Physics. He was acting team team leader for DARPA’s Optical Lattice Emulator, which sought to explore the fully quantum mechanical behavior of materials. During his time as team leader for the emulator, Hulet’s team proved it possible to use ultracold atoms and lasers to build the type of structures needed to simulate high-temperature superconductors.

Established in 2007, the Walther Award is named in honor of Dr. Herbert Walther for the seminal influence of his groundbreaking innovations in quantum optics and atomic physics, and for his wide-ranging contributions to the international scientific community. The award is sponsored by DPG and The Optical Society (OSA).
About The Optical Society
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