Atomic, molecular and optical (AMO) physics is a fundamental science that has contributed to some of the most significant scientific and technical advances of the last century, including the invention and understanding of the laser, atomic clocks, and the creation of new types of matter. Applications connected to the core of AMO physics are found in abundance in navigation (GPS and atomic clocks), medicine (lasers, MRI, imaging), and global internet communication (optical fibers). AMO Physics is also an enabling discipline connecting with several areas of science in condensed matter physics, chemistry, astrophysics, plasma and nuclear physics, and biology. With a new quantum revolution underway, spurred by remarkable advances in exquisite precision and control of interactions between atomic species and manipulation and study of the coherent properties of light and matter, a center of excellence in AMO theory will serve as the integrator of activities in helping lead this revolution in quantum technologies. This newly-established theoretical center (ITAMP) will serve a broad community of physicists in the United States.

ITAMP at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) in Cambridge, MA will serve as the meeting place for novel and innovative ideas, and in which highly motivated theoretical physicists interact in close proximity to experimentalists, visiting fellows and faculty working on broadly defined topics in AMO physics, and flourish in the larger AMO physics ecosystem in Cambridge. ITAMP will strive to be an incubator facility for theoretical AMO physics by providing resources and access to the rich AMO-related ecosystem of excellence in Cambridge, such as the NSF PFC- Center for Ultracold Atoms at Harvard and MIT- to create a collaborative environment for the visiting fellows and for the training and mentoring of junior fellows, to broadly advocate for the field, and to lead in forefront research in AMO physics and outreach efforts to the community. ITAMP will hold and host targeted topical group meetings in which large groups of practitioners will gather in critical mass to mount coordinated attacks on topical challenges in AMO physics and find novel solutions to these problems. Postdoctoral fellows and students will benefit from proximity to these recognized figures in theoretical and experimental AMO science. Visiting fellows, housed in a contiguous office environment, will interact with the postdoctoral and scientific fellows in ways not otherwise possible. Winter Graduate Schools will be scheduled to train students keen in learning fundamental and advanced topics in AMO physics.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Physics (PHY)
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Bogdan Mihaila
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Harvard University
United States
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