Physics Department Colloquium
Breaking Barriers with Maxwell's Demon
Time: 3:30 PM
Place: 2241 Chamberlin Hall (coffee at 430 pm)
Speaker: Mark Raizen, University of Texas at Austin
Abstract: In 1871, James Clerk Maxwell proposed a mythical creature that could regulate the motion of gas-phase particles by controlling a gate. This creature was called Maxwell's demon by Lord Kelvin, and remained a vigorous topic of debate for over 130 years. The demon seemed to violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics, though it was later shown that in principle, information entropy saves us from that catastrophe. In this talk, I will describe how we have now realized Maxwell's demon in the laboratory with a self-acting one-way wall, and how it enables the control of matter with light. In particular, I will discuss how Maxwell's demon is being used to break the barriers of Laser Cooling, Isotope Separation and Nanoscience.