Quantum physics: Atomic research discoveries show there’s much more to learn

Ana Maria Rey (Photo credit: Casey Cass/University of Colorado)

This month on CU on the Air we welcomed CU Boulder Professor Ana Maria Rey, a theoretical physicist and fellow at JILA. Professor Rey has earned multiple awards for her groundbreaking research, including the coveted MacArthur Genius Fellowship and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. She earned the Alexander Cruickshank Award in 2017 and 2019, and became the first Hispanic woman to win the Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists. Professor Rey studies the interface between atomic, molecular and optical physics, condensed matter physics, and quantum informational science.

  • What exactly is quantum physics?
  • Cooling down particles, and using this cool system to explore the properties of the quantum world.
  • Laser cooling and the Nobel winners who inspired Professor Rey
  • Interest in quantum physics from early on and the wonder of bouncing a ball
  • A new understanding of atomic collision and how that reset the clock
  • Why is precision important and what are the applications of these findings?
  • Quantum knots and the phenomenon of entanglement
  • Keeping atoms in the ground state, some atoms in the excited state to avoid collision
  • Rey’s students
  • Controlling and manipulating ions: atoms are neutral, but ions have unique properties
  • Collaborations across the globe
  • Visiting Colombia – Rey’s home – to help advance science


Ken and Ana Maria