Science does not evolve continuously, nor does it generate new knowledge instantly, or even reflect the effort spent on its inception – progress occurs in jumps *. Being immersed in daily research, it is sometimes hard to assess the impact of the numerous scientific accomplishments that have been reported. However, from today's vantage point Bose–Einstein condensation with cold atomic gases in the year 1995 was such a ‘‘quantum leap’’ for quantum physics.

By gaining complete control over the center of mass motion of a single atomic particle, by mastering its internal interaction with electro-magnetic fields, and most recently, by steering the real-time dynamics between pairs of atomic particles, the community of atomic, molecular and optical physics has created a novel system where genuine many-particle phenomena can be ‘‘tailored to order’’. These prospects have created tremendous interest in other fields of physics, such as condensed matter physics, statistical physics, solid state physics, nuclear matter physics, or plasma physics, where collective excitations and many-particle correlations have always been the focus of attention.

* The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas S. Kuhn, The Chicago University Press (1962)


Prof. Dr. Reinhold Walser

Theoretische Quantendynamik
Institut für Angewandte Physik
Fachbereich 05 - Physik
Technische Universität Darmstadt
Hochschulstr. 4a
D-64289 Darmstadt

+49 6151 16-20320

+49 6151 16-20402



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