This award is to provide continued support for activities at the Institute for Theoretical Atomic and Molecular Physics (ITAMP) at Harvard/SAO. The activity has been and remains a resource for the theoretical atomic, molecular and optical physics community since 1988. The ITAMP has a world wide, competitive postdoctoral program, supports long and short term visitors and runs a number of workshops in forefront problems in AMO physics. ITAMP postdoctoral fellows have been the major source of junior faculty positions in theoretical AMO physics for the past ten years and have led to two senior appointments to Harvard physics and chemistry departments where these individuals can train some of the best and brightest students in AMO theory in the US.

Project Report

Atomic Molecular and Optical (AMO) physics is a branch of physics dealing with interactions between atoms, electrons and molecules and electromagnetic fields, such as lasers. It is an inter-disciplinary research and educational area which has led to revolutionary advances in science and technology, as evidenced by 11 Nobel Prizes since 1997. Two topical areas of intense focus within AMO physics are the ultracold and ultrafast sciences; those dealing with bringing atoms and molecules to standstill and manipulating them, tunable many-body systems which can simulate correlated interactions in condensed matter, and those dealing with zapping them with very fast and strong laser pulses to ionize and fragment atoms and molecules. ITAMP is a national user facility for AMO theory and the premier institute dedicated to fostering research and education in theoretical AMO physics in the United States. ITAMP organizes workshops and topical groups on areas of current interest, hosts scholarly visiting fellows and students, and awards prestigious fellowships to recent PhD. graduates to lead independent postdoctoral research at ITAMP. ITAMP has an active outreach and mentoring program for the junior fellows. Its workshops are webcast live to the public and its lectures are available for public domain at the ITAMP youtube channel, In 2012, ITAMP organized a total of six workshops and topical groups in diverse areas of ultracold few-body quantum systems, Rydberg systems, quantum simulations, strongly-correlated many-body quantum atomic systems, dynamical correlations in dynamics of atoms and molecules, and electron-molecule interactions related to laboratory and astrophysical plasmas. The details are available on the ITAMP website ( The workshops were webcast and archived on Youtube for public access. In 2012, ITAMP began a significant educational collaboration with the B2 Institute in Arizona. The first ITAMP/B2 Institute Winter Graduate School was a unique opportunity for the students and faculty in the two areas of ultracold and ultrafast to mingle together, learn from each and enjoy the quite and pristine environs of the B2 campus. Two Nobel laureates, two McArthur Fellows and four members of the US National Academies were among the lecturers. Students had ample opportunity to sit with the faculty during the class breaks, during lunches and dinners, and during hikes and other extra activities. Poster prizes were given out to outstanding student posters, and were voted on by the faculty. The lectures from this winter school are available for viewing (public domain) on the ITAMP Youtube channel. ITAMP also invited several internationally renowned scientists to give joint lectures with the Harvard Physics and Chemistry departments. ITAMP postdocs were able to obtain faculty positions in the U.S. and the U.K. in physics and chemistry, continuing on the long tradition of successful employment in academia by ITAMP postdocs.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Physics (PHY)
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Siu Au Lee
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Smithsonian Institution Astrophysical Observatory
United States
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