Mark G. Raizen

Mark G. Raizen

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Mark George Raizen is a physicist who conducts experiments on quantum optics
Quantum optics
Quantum optics is a field of research in physics, dealing with the application of quantum mechanics to phenomena involving light and its interactions with matter.- History of quantum optics :...

 and atom optics
Atom optics
Atom optics is the area of physics which deals with beams of cold, slowly moving neutral atoms, as a special case of a particle beam....


Birth and Education

Raizen was born in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 where generations of his family resided since the 1840s. While he comes from a long line of medical doctors, dating back to the Civil War, Raizen's life took a different path. In his childhood, Raizen was influenced by his uncle, Dr. Robert F. Goldberger, former provost of Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 and deputy director for science at the NIH, to pursue a scientific career.

Like his mother, aunt, and uncle, Raizen attended The Walden School on the Upper West Side
Upper West Side
The Upper West Side is a neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan, New York City, that lies between Central Park and the Hudson River and between West 59th Street and West 125th Street...

, until his family moved to Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

. He graduated from De Shalit High School
De Shalit High School
De Shalit High School is a high school and two sister junior high schools located in the city Rehovot, in Israel. It is named after the physicist Amos de-Shalit .The school has around 2000 students...

 and received his undergraduate degree in mathematics from Tel Aviv University
Tel Aviv University
Tel Aviv University is a public university located in Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel. With nearly 30,000 students, TAU is Israel's largest university.-History:...

 in 1980. He continued his graduate education at the University of Texas at Austin, under the guidance of Steven Weinberg
Steven Weinberg
Steven Weinberg is an American theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate in Physics for his contributions with Abdus Salam and Sheldon Glashow to the unification of the weak force and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles....

 (Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

 in Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

, 1979) and Jeff Kimble (California Institute of Technology
California Institute of Technology
The California Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphases on science and engineering...


Raizen completed his Ph.D. in 1989. From 1989 to 1991, Raizen was a National Research Council
United States National Research Council
The National Research Council of the USA is the working arm of the United States National Academies, carrying out most of the studies done in their names.The National Academies include:* National Academy of Sciences...

 (NRC) post-doc at the Time and Frequency Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology
National Institute of Standards and Technology
The National Institute of Standards and Technology , known between 1901 and 1988 as the National Bureau of Standards , is a measurement standards laboratory, otherwise known as a National Metrological Institute , which is a non-regulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce...

, working with David Wineland and James Bergquist.

Academic career

In 1991, Raizen returned to Austin
Austin is the capital of the U.S. state of Texas.Austin may also refer to:-In the United States:*Austin, Arkansas*Austin, Colorado*Austin, Chicago, Illinois*Austin, Indiana*Austin, Minnesota*Austin, Nevada*Austin, Oregon...

 and The University of Texas where he became an assistant professor of physics. He was promoted to associate professor in 1996 and full professor in 2000. Raizen holds the Sid W. Richardson
Sid W. Richardson
Sid Williams Richardson was a Texas oilman, cattleman, and philanthropist known for his association with the city of Fort Worth....

 Foundation Regents Chair, one of only four such chairs in the physics department.

Scientific career

Raizen started his scientific career in theoretical particle physics
Particle physics
Particle physics is a branch of physics that studies the existence and interactions of particles that are the constituents of what is usually referred to as matter or radiation. In current understanding, particles are excitations of quantum fields and interact following their dynamics...

 in 1984 with Steven Weinberg, his mentor. In 1985, Raizen moved into experimental physics
Experimental physics
Within the field of physics, experimental physics is the category of disciplines and sub-disciplines concerned with the observation of physical phenomena in order to gather data about the universe...

 where he began a close association with Jeff Kimble. In his graduate work, Raizen was instrumental in one of the first experiments that measured squeezed states of light and also observed, for the first time, the Vacuum Rabi splitting in the optical domain.

While at NIST, Raizen developed the first linear ion trap which has become the basis for quantum information
Quantum information
In quantum mechanics, quantum information is physical information that is held in the "state" of a quantum system. The most popular unit of quantum information is the qubit, a two-level quantum system...

 with trapped ions.

At the University of Texas, Austin, the research program in the Raizen Group uses laser cooling
Laser cooling
Laser cooling refers to the number of techniques in which atomic and molecular samples are cooled through the interaction with one or more laser light fields...

 and trapping of neutral atoms to study many fundamental problems. One of the most important results was the first direct observation of the quantum suppression of chaos
Chaos theory
Chaos theory is a field of study in mathematics, with applications in several disciplines including physics, economics, biology, and philosophy. Chaos theory studies the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions, an effect which is popularly referred to as the...


In other experiments, Raizen and his group investigated quantum transport of atoms in an accelerating optical lattice
Optical lattice
An optical lattice is formed by the interference of counter-propagating laser beams, creating a spatially periodic polarization pattern. The resulting periodic potential may trap neutral atoms via the Stark shift. Atoms are cooled and congregate in the locations of potential minima...

. They studied the loss mechanism during the acceleration and determined that it is due to quantum tunneling. Surprisingly, for short times they found a deviation from the exponential decay law in the survival probability. This is a manifestation of a basic quantum effect predicted over forty years ago by Leonid Khalfin but not observed until now. This short-time deviation from exponential decay was then used to suppress or enhance the decay rate, effects known as the Quantum Zeno effect
Quantum Zeno effect
The quantum Zeno effect is a name coined by George Sudarshan and Baidyanath Misra of the University of Texas in 1977 in their analysis of the situation in which an unstable particle, if observed continuously, will never decay. One can nearly "freeze" the evolution of the system by measuring it...

 or Anti-Zeno effect.

In recent years the focus of the experimental research shifted towards many-body physics. Towards this goal, Raizen and his group built two experiments with Bose-Einstein Condensate in rubidium
Rubidium is a chemical element with the symbol Rb and atomic number 37. Rubidium is a soft, silvery-white metallic element of the alkali metal group. Its atomic mass is 85.4678. Elemental rubidium is highly reactive, with properties similar to those of other elements in group 1, such as very rapid...

 and sodium
Sodium is a chemical element with the symbol Na and atomic number 11. It is a soft, silvery-white, highly reactive metal and is a member of the alkali metals; its only stable isotope is 23Na. It is an abundant element that exists in numerous minerals, most commonly as sodium chloride...

. They developed a unique system for the study and control of quantum statistics of atoms and quantum entanglement. The system includes a condensate in an optical box trap together with single atom detection.

Raizen pioneered a totally new approach to producing ultra-cold atoms by coherent slowing of supersonic
Supersonic speed is a rate of travel of an object that exceeds the speed of sound . For objects traveling in dry air of a temperature of 20 °C this speed is approximately 343 m/s, 1,125 ft/s, 768 mph or 1,235 km/h. Speeds greater than five times the speed of sound are often...

 beams. Using an atomic paddle, a slow monochromatic beam of ground state helium
Helium is the chemical element with atomic number 2 and an atomic weight of 4.002602, which is represented by the symbol He. It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, inert, monatomic gas that heads the noble gas group in the periodic table...

 was produced. In a different approach, pulsed magnetic fields were used to stop paramagnetic atoms and molecules. To further cool these particles, Raizen and his collaborators introduced the concept of a one-way barrier, or one-way wall, which is used to accumulate atoms or molecules in an optical tweezer. This method was realized experimentally by the Raizen Group in December, 2007. This cooling method is an exact physical realization of informational cooling, originally proposed by Leo Szilard
Leó Szilárd
Leó Szilárd was an Austro-Hungarian physicist and inventor who conceived the nuclear chain reaction in 1933, patented the idea of a nuclear reactor with Enrico Fermi, and in late 1939 wrote the letter for Albert Einstein's signature that resulted in the Manhattan Project that built the atomic bomb...

 in 1929. This proposal used the concept of information entropy to resolve the paradox of Maxwell's Demon
Maxwell's demon
In the philosophy of thermal and statistical physics, Maxwell's demon is a thought experiment created by the Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell to "show that the Second Law of Thermodynamics has only a statistical certainty." It demonstrates Maxwell's point by hypothetically describing how to...

. Together, these methods enable the trapping and cooling of ultra-cold atoms that span most of the periodic table
Periodic table
The periodic table of the chemical elements is a tabular display of the 118 known chemical elements organized by selected properties of their atomic structures. Elements are presented by increasing atomic number, the number of protons in an atom's atomic nucleus...

 and many molecules.

In 2009, Raizen and his group built an experiment to study Brownian motion
Brownian motion
Brownian motion or pedesis is the presumably random drifting of particles suspended in a fluid or the mathematical model used to describe such random movements, which is often called a particle theory.The mathematical model of Brownian motion has several real-world applications...

 of a bead of glass held in optical tweezers
Optical tweezers
Optical tweezers are scientific instruments that use a highly focused laser beam to provide an attractive or repulsive force , depending on the refractive index mismatch to physically hold and move microscopic dielectric objects...

 in air. In 1907, Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

 published a paper in which he considered the instantaneous velocity of Brownian motion
Brownian motion
Brownian motion or pedesis is the presumably random drifting of particles suspended in a fluid or the mathematical model used to describe such random movements, which is often called a particle theory.The mathematical model of Brownian motion has several real-world applications...

, and showed that it could be used to test the Equipartition Theorem
Equipartition theorem
In classical statistical mechanics, the equipartition theorem is a general formula that relates the temperature of a system with its average energies. The equipartition theorem is also known as the law of equipartition, equipartition of energy, or simply equipartition...

, one of the basic tenets of statistical mechanics. In this paper, Einstein concluded that the instantaneous velocity would be impossible to measure in practice due to the very rapid randomization of the motion. In the spring of 2010, the Raizen Group measured the instantaneous velocity of a Brownian particle, over 100 years since the original prediction by Einstein. The velocity data was used to verify the Maxwell-Boltzmann velocity distribution, and the equipartition theorem
Equipartition theorem
In classical statistical mechanics, the equipartition theorem is a general formula that relates the temperature of a system with its average energies. The equipartition theorem is also known as the law of equipartition, equipartition of energy, or simply equipartition...

 for a Brownian particle.

In January, 2010, Raizen introduced a new field which he pioneered and named Atomoscience
- Atomoscience :Atomoscience is the field enabled by the development of general methods to control atomic motion in gas phase. Atomoscience is a "bottom up" approach to building complexity, and is complementary to Nanoscience, typically, a top-down approach. Mark G. Raizen proposed Atomoscience as...

. This is the science of building complexity from the bottom up, enabled by the general methods of controlling atoms in gas phase. Two examples of applications in Atomoscience are efficient isotope separation
Isotope separation
Isotope separation is the process of concentrating specific isotopes of a chemical element by removing other isotopes, for example separating natural uranium into enriched uranium and depleted uranium. This is a crucial process in the manufacture of uranium fuel for nuclear power stations, and is...

 for medicine and basic research, and magnetic focusing of supersonic beams to create nanoscale structures.

Personal life

Raizen is married and resides in Austin
Austin, Texas
Austin is the capital city of the U.S. state of :Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest, it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 14th most populous city in the United States. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in...

 and San Antonio, Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 with his numerous rescue dogs and cats. He is an advocate for historical preservation and animal rights.

Awards and honors

  • 2008: Willis Lamb
    Willis Lamb
    Willis Eugene Lamb, Jr. was an American physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1955 together with Polykarp Kusch "for his discoveries concerning the fine structure of the hydrogen spectrum". Lamb and Kusch were able to precisely determine certain electromagnetic properties of the electron...

     Medal in Laser Science and Quantum Optics
  • 2002: Max Planck
    Max Planck
    Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck, ForMemRS, was a German physicist who actualized the quantum physics, initiating a revolution in natural science and philosophy. He is regarded as the founder of the quantum theory, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918.-Life and career:Planck came...

     Award from the Max Planck Society
    Max Planck Society
    The Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science is a formally independent non-governmental and non-profit association of German research institutes publicly funded by the federal and the 16 state governments of Germany....

     and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
    Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
    The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is a foundation set-up by the government of the Federal Republic and funded by the German Foreign Office, the Ministry of Education and Research, the Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development and others for the promotion of international co-operation...

  • 1999: I.I. Rabi Prize in Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics, American Physical Society
  • 1993-1998: National Science Foundation
    National Science Foundation
    The National Science Foundation is a United States government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering. Its medical counterpart is the National Institutes of Health...

     Young Investigator Award
  • 1992-1995: Office of Naval Research
    Office of Naval Research
    The Office of Naval Research , headquartered in Arlington, Virginia , is the office within the United States Department of the Navy that coordinates, executes, and promotes the science and technology programs of the U.S...

     Young Investigator Award
  • 1992-1994: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
    Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
    The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic non-profit organization in the United States. It was established in 1934 by Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., then-President and Chief Executive Officer of General Motors.-Overview:...

     Research Fellow
  • 1991-1993: The Sid W. Richardson Foundation
    Sid W. Richardson Foundation
    The Sid W. Richardson Foundation is a philanthropic organization, founded in 1947 by Sid W. Richardson , a Texan who earned his fortune in the oil industry...

     Regents Chair Fellow
  • 1989-1991: National Research Council
    United States National Research Council
    The National Research Council of the USA is the working arm of the United States National Academies, carrying out most of the studies done in their names.The National Academies include:* National Academy of Sciences...

     Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 1988-: IBM
    International Business Machines Corporation or IBM is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware and software, and it offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas...

     Graduate Fellowship

Raizen is also a fellow of American Physical Society
American Physical Society
The American Physical Society is the world's second largest organization of physicists, behind the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft. The Society publishes more than a dozen scientific journals, including the world renowned Physical Review and Physical Review Letters, and organizes more than 20...

 and the Optical Society of America
Optical Society of America
The Optical Society is a scientific society dedicated to advancing the study of light—optics and photonics—in theory and application, by means of publishing, organizing conferences and exhibitions, partnership with industry, and education. The organization has members in more than 100 countries...


External links

  • Mark G. Raizen at the University of Texas at Austin
    University of Texas at Austin
    The University of Texas at Austin is a state research university located in Austin, Texas, USA, and is the flagship institution of the The University of Texas System. Founded in 1883, its campus is located approximately from the Texas State Capitol in Austin...