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Spring 2022 Physics Colloquium Series: Dr. Kimball A. Milton | Schedule

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Spring 2022 Physics Colloquium Series

Dr. Kimball A. Milton
Homer L. Dodge Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Oklahoma
Norman, Oklahoma


The quantum vacuum: still surprising after 112 years!

Casimir physics, or quantum vacuum physics, contains a host of puzzling phenomena and the potential for important applications in nanomachinery. Its scope ranges from the microscopic
structure of matter to the structure of the cosmos. In this presentation, I will approach some of these phenomena, and how they can be apprehended from the point of view of interactions (van der Waals or CasimirPolder) between polarizable neutral atoms. Such an atom can undergo friction when it moves in vacuum, the Einstein-Hopf effect, which has recently been generalized to the relativistic regime, where the temperature of the atom can be different from that of vacuum. I will discuss how such friction might be observed. The summation of van der Waals forces between atoms, taking into account the finiteness of the speed of light (delay), results in the Casimir force between metallic and dielectric bodies, forces which can be attractive or repulsive. This summation can also be done for single-body constituents, yielding the self-free energy and entropy, which can be negative. The meaning of this surprising sign is explained.

For more information, contact: Dr. Walter Wilcox, 254-710-2510
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