Manipulating Atoms with Lasers

Lecture presented by: Claude Cohen-Tannoudji
Date: December 8, 2016
Location: Brno University of Technology, Czech Republic

Light is an essential source of information on the world around us, not only at the microscopic scale of atoms and molecules, but also at the very large scale of the universe. It appears now that light …

Claude Cohen- Tannoudji was born on April 1, 1933 in Constantine. Upon completion of his primary and secondary school education in Algiers, Cohen-Tannoudjii attended Paris’ Ecole Normale Supérieure. In his first year, 1953, he attended lectures in mathematics by Henri Cartan and Laurent Schwartz and in physics by Alfred Kastler. Cohen-Tannoudjii found Kastler's lectures so stimulating, that he changed his concentration form mathematics to physics.

In 1955, he joined Kastler's group to do his diploma work. Cohen-Tannoudjii remembers, "The equipment was rather poor and we did what we could without computers, recorders and signal averagers. We measured resonance curves point by point with a galvanometer, each curve five times, and then averaged by hand. We were, somehow, able to get nice curves and exciting results. I think that what I learned during that period was essential for my subsequent research work and key personalities such as Alfred Kastler and Jean Brossel certainly had a significant role in it. We were going together… to attend lectures given by Albert Messiah on quantum mechanics, by Anatole Abragam on NMR and by Claude Bloch on nuclear physics."

Manipulating Atoms with Lasers video