Archived Newsletters


  • Chair: William C. Stwalley
  • Chair Elect: Pierre Meystre
  • Vice Chair: Louis F. DiMauro
  • Secretary/Treasurer: David R. Schultz

From the Chair

Bill Stwalley

DAMOP continues to grow - in the excitement of its science but also in its volume. The DAMOP 08 program includes a record number of abstracts (over 860), exceeding the previous record numbers at DAMOP 06 and DAMOP 07. It seems likely that attendance at our next annual meeting will again exceed 800.

Such numbers place great stress on the traditional format and organization of the DAMOP meeting. Hence, following discussions with the Chairline, I have named an ad hoc committee, chaired by Dave Schultz and described in the next section of this Newsletter, to consider a variety of possible changes. Please read about and reflect upon these issues and provide your input to Dave or other committee members by email or at the Town Hall Meeting on Friday, May 30th, at 5:30 pm in the HUB-Robeson Center Auditorium at the DAMOP 08 meeting.

DAMOP Meeting Format and Organization Improvement Committee

David Schultz

The primary goal of the DAMOP Annual Meeting is to provide a forum where the participants can hear and make scientific presentations and meet colleagues, but it also involves presentation of awards and recognitions, interaction of the community with local educators, experience and competitions for students, social events, meeting time for working groups and committees, and a lot of organizational work behind the scenes. While recent DAMOP meetings have been great successes by many measures, there is room for improving both the format of the meeting as well as the way in which it is organized and managed.

Feedback received from local organizers, meeting participants, and DAMOP officers has lead to the recognition that we should form a committee to consider changes to the format of the meeting and the way we run it, and to solicit input from the community on these potential changes. For example, we often hear from participants that having a half day of sessions on Saturday is inconvenient so we should consider alternate meeting schedules. Another common observation is that many participants would prefer to have fewer parallel sessions (we have recently had six parallel sessions typically) and that perhaps more poster sessions would allow us to reduce that number (some other APS unit meetings have as many as twice the number of poster sessions that we do).

Many of these issues are being driven by the impressive growth in attendance and number of abstracts submitted to our annual meeting. While this is indicative of the excitement and vitality of our field, this growth has a counterpoint in terms of the cost and complexity of our meeting. Additional complicating factors are the extra sessions to organize such as a public lecture and Educators’ Day activities, and our partnership with other unit meetings or joint session sponsorship, notably with the Topical Groups on Precision Measurements and Fundamental Constants (PMFC) and Quantum Information (GQI), and the APS March Meeting. Thus, we have had more difficulty in organizing the Annual Meeting and more constraints on scheduling, meeting venue, and accommodations.

In order to consider these issues, an ad hoc DAMOP Format and Organization Improvement Committee has been formed to consider possible changes to how the Annual Meeting is organized and carried out. Input to this process is welcome (and vital!) so feel free to contact any of the committee members (Dave Schultz – Chair, Scott Bergeson, Tom Killian, Marianna Safronova, Tim Gay, and Lou DiMauro). In addition, a Town Hall Meeting will be held on Friday, May 30th, during the Penn State DAMOP. Please attend the meeting and give us your observations and suggestions so that we can help make future DAMOPs more enjoyable, enlightening, stimulating, convenient, useful, efficiently and well organized, financially sound, …

DAMOP 2008 – Information from the Local Committee

David Weiss and Kurt Gibble

The 39th meeting of the Division of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics (DAMOP) of the American Physical Society will be held at Penn State in State College, Pennsylvania, from Tuesday, May 27, to Saturday, May 31, 2008. Make plans now to attend. 

39th Annual Meeting of the Division of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics

The conference will be centered at the Nittany Lion Inn, a Historic Hotel of America on the beautiful Penn State University Park campus. University Park is adjacent to charming downtown State College, which features a wide variety of shops, restaurants, and cultural events. State College is in a picturesque central Pennsylvania valley, renowned for its natural beauty and opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.

There are approximately 800 abstracts in the conference program, in a mix of invited, focus, and contributed oral sessions and poster sessions. The breadth and quality of the abstracts submitted to DAMOP continues to be impressive. The conference website has a list of invited sessions and speakers. There will be a link to the full program soon (March 7). It remains possible to submit postdeadline poster abstracts via the APS website. We are grateful to the DAMOP members that sorted the program: Dana Berkeland, Dave DeMille, Bob Forrey, Marty Ligare, Pierre Meystre, Ken O’Hara, Jianbing Qi, Dave Schultz, Bill Stwalley, Tom Winter, David Weiss, and Kurt Gibble. The sorters’ meeting went very smoothly with the able help of Vinaya Sathyasheelappa from the APS.

Registration: The Deadline for Pre-Registration at the Early Registration Fee is April 4, 2008. Registration is accessible through the conference website or the APS’s DAMOP site. The early registration fee is $400 for members and $200 for students. The fee includes all sessions and breaks, the Welcome Reception, the public lecture,m and the Conference banquet. On-site check-in and registration will take place at the Nittany Lion Inn starting on May 27.

Exhibits: The number of exhibitors at DAMOP is steadily growing. Exhibit display tables will be set up in the Nittany Lion Inn during conference sessions.

Conference Sessions: Oral conference sessions will be from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. W-F May 28-30, and on Saturday, May 31, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Except for opening and closing plenary sessions, there will be six parallel sessions, of which three are either invited or focus sessions and three are contributed. Oral sessions will be in the Nittany Lion Inn and in nearby Kern and Keller Halls.

Poster Sessions: Poster sessions will be held from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the HUB-Robeson center on the Penn State campus. Beer, soft drinks, and hors d’oeuvres will be available. Poster presenters can set them up early on the day of their session, and are asked to remove them no later than 6:30 p.m. on the day of the presentation.

Special Events - Tuesday, May 27
DAMOP will have its third Educators’ Day, organized by Stephen van Hook of Penn State, designed predominantly for high school physics teachers. The AMO speakers on the program will be Bill Phillips and Lou Bloomfield. Many of the attendees will join conference attendees at the opening reception at the Nittany Lion Inn in the evening.

A Graduate Student Symposium will be held on May 27, 2008, in Kern Hall adjacent to the Nittany Lion Inn. It will consist of a high quality array of tutorial-style talks and lab tours. The topics and speakers will be “Quantum degenerate gases,” Brian DeMarco (UIUC); “Quantum information,” Dave Wineland (NIST, Boulder); “Quantum optics,” Pierre Meystre (University of Arizona); and “Ultra-fast physics,” Phil Bucksbaum (Stanford University). The event is intended for graduate students and post-doctoral researchers, and registration is available on the APS registration website at a cost of $50, which includes a catered lunch.

There will be a Welcome Reception for all conference participants from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 27, in the Ballroom of the Nittany Lion Inn.

Special Events - Wednesday, May 28
The conference will open with a plenary prize session from 8:00 to 9:30 a.m. in the Nittany Lion Inn Ballroom. It will honor two APS Prize Winners: Horst Schmidt-Böcking (Davisson-Germer Prize) and Kenneth Kulander (Allis Prize).

There will be a reception to meet the APS journal editors and celebrate 50 years of PRL. It will be outside the Nittany Lion Inn Ballroom at 3:30.

There will be a Women in Physics reception in Room 129A of the HUB-Robeson Center from 4:30 to 6:30. Women graduate students and postdoctoral candidates are especially welcome.

The Topical Group for Precision Measurements and Fundamental Constants (GPMFC) will have its annual business meeting in Room 103, Osmond Laboratory, followed by dinner for members of the topical group.

Public Lecture: Steven Chu, director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Nobel laureate, will give a public lecture at 8:00 p.m. in the Eisenhower Auditorium. The title of his lecture is: “The energy/climate change problem and what we can do about it.” The lecture will be followed by a Penn State Creamery Ice Cream reception outside of Eisenhower Auditorium.

Special Events - Thursday, May 29

The theoretical atomic, molecular, and optical community (TAMOC) will hold a community meeting from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. in Room 101, Osmond Laboratory.

The Conference Banquet at 7:00 p.m. will be preceded by a cash bar reception beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Penn Stater Conference Center and Hotel. Chartered buses will transport guests from the HUB-Robeson Center and the Nittany Lion Inn to the Penn Stater (~3 miles). The dinner will be followed by public awarding of the various DAMOP prizes and fellowships.

Special Events - Friday, May 30
There will be a DAMOP Town Hall Meeting in the Auditorium of the HUB-Robeson Center at 5:30 p.m. to discuss the format and organization for future DAMOP meetings (see article above on the DAMOP format and organization improvement committee). This will be followed by the DAMOP Business Meeting.

Special Events - Saturday, May 31
There will be a plenary Hot Topics Session from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Following the close of the conference, attendees will have the opportunity to tour AMO labs at Penn State.

Accommodations: There is a list of hotels with DAMOP room blocks on the conference website. April 25 is the deadline for the conference rates, which range from $51 to $115 per night for single or double occupancy. The conference hotels are within one mile of the Nittany Lion Inn. Three in particular are closer to more conference events and downtown restaurants, namely the Nittany Lion Inn, the Atherton Hotel, and the Day’s Inn. There is a map with all the conference sites on the website. There are many other hotels and motels without an official DAMOP affiliation within a few miles of campus.

Students and other attendees also have the option of staying at Penn State residence halls, either at the un-air conditioned West Halls very near the Nittany Lion Inn for $46.75 single/$39.50 double, or at the air conditioned Eastview Terrace for $62.50 a night single occupancy. Registration information is on the conference website.

Travel to State College
By air: The State College/University Park Airport (SCE) is located five miles from the conference site. Call 814-865-5511 for airport information. The airport is served by four airlines: United Airlines (Washington Dulles); US Airways (Philadelphia); Northwest Airlines (Detroit); and Delta Airlines (Atlanta, Cincinnati). Taxis are available, as are shuttles to the Nittany Lion Inn and Atherton Hotels (call the hotels for information). The airport is served by National, Alamo, Hertz and Avis, but most people will not need rental cars.

The Harrisburg Airport is 90 miles away, a 1.5 hour drive. It is served by the airlines above as well as by: American Eagle (Chicago/O'Hare, Dallas/Ft. Worth); Continental Airlines (Cleveland); and Air Canada (Toronto).

By car: The University Park campus is within driving distance of many major cities, including Harrisburg (1.5 hrs., 90 mi.), Pittsburgh (2.5 hrs., 137 mi.), Philadelphia (3.5 hrs., 194 mi.), Baltimore (3 hrs., 155 mi.), Washington, D.C. (4 hrs., 190 mi.), New York City (4 hrs., 250 mi.), Cleveland (4 hrs., 240 mi.), and Rochester (4 hrs., 240 mi.).

Please visit Penn State: Visitors and Neighbors Website for detailed visitor information, including maps.

Invitation Letter: Individuals requiring an official letter of invitation in order to attend the meeting may write to the DAMOP 08 conference planner. This procedure is designed to assist participants who need to obtain a visa or permission to attend the meeting. The letter does not imply that any registration fees or other expenses will be assumed by the meeting organizers. Address requests to:

Katie Frieden, Conference Planner
The Pennsylvania State University
225 The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel
University Park PA 16802

Conference Deadlines: Early registration deadline: April 4 (when the price increases by $50). Student symposium registration deadline: April 25. Conference hotel rate deadline: April 25.

Accompanying Persons Information: The Local Committee is planning a program of daytime activities for accompanying persons on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Advance expressions of interest are welcome through the website.

Student Travel Support: DAMOP once again anticipates providing some support for student travel to the Annual Meeting. The deadline for receipt of applications for support is March 21, 2008 and information about how to apply, and the guidelines we will follow for selection, may be found on upcoming meetings page.

DAMOP Fellowship, Prizes, and DAMOP Annual Elections

APS Fellowship: The deadline for Fellowship nominations is April 4, 2008. Please see the DAMOP Fellowship website for more information or follow the links from the DAMOP homepage. Congratulations as well to the 2007 DAMOP fellows: Andrew Bandrauk, Michael Chapman, Paul Corkum, Robin Cote, Rudolf Grimm, Poul Jessen, Kevin Jones, Christian Kurtsiefer, Alan Migdall, Jan Rost, Henrik Stapelfeldt, Thomas Stoehlker, Boudewyn Verhaar, David Weiss, Yoshihisa Yamamoto, and Li You.

Upcoming Prize Nomination Deadlines:
Herbert P. Broida Prize - To recognize and enhance outstanding experimental advancements in the fields of atomic and molecular spectroscopy or chemical physics. The prize consists of $5,000, an allowance for travel to the award ceremony, and a certificate citing the contributions made by the recipient. The first prize was awarded in 1980 and every odd numbered year thereafter. Deadline: Tuesday, July 1, 2008.

I.I. Rabi Prize in Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics. To recognize and encourage outstanding research in Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics by investigators who have held a Ph. D. for 10 years or less. The prize consists of $7,500 and a certificate citing the contributions made by the recipient. An allowance will be provided for travel expenses of the recipient to the Society meeting at which the prize is presented. It is awarded in odd-numbered years. Deadline: Tuesday, July 1, 2008.

Francis M. Pipkin Award: To honor exceptional research accomplishments by a young scientist in the interdisciplinary area or precision measurements and fundamental constants and to encourage wide dissemination of the results of that research. The award is given biennially every odd-numbered year and consists of $2,000 plus support of travel expenses to the APS Meeting at which the award is conferred. Deadline: July 1, 2008.

DAMOP Annual Election of Officers: Watch for an email requesting your vote in the annual election of DAMOP officers during the next few weeks. The nominating committee has recruited an excellent slate of candidates for the Executive Committee, Secretary/Treasurer and Vice Chair, and the APS Voting website is being set up.

Message from APS

Margaret Black, APS Web Content Coordinator
As you may have discovered visiting the American Physical Society website, we routinely publish photographs of recent physics research in the center of the APS Home page. APS would particularly like to give our own members' work this tribute and focus. If you own striking, beautiful, and interesting photographs of current physics projects (January 2007 to present), we want to consider highlighting your work.

Although we do not pay for these images, we give full credit and an introduction to the research illustrated in a Home page picture. The APS website is visited millions of times each year, thousands of times each day. The vast majority of our visitors enter through our Home page and view these photos. Each Home page picture has an “About this image” link. By clicking an image, our members and other visitors can learn more about the project or research featured in the photographs. The Home page images rotate each time the Home page is visited. Each picture remains in our website rotation for 2-3 months.

There is no deadline for submissions. Image selection is on-going. Images not used on our Home page may still be suitable for our brochures, calendars, or posters. Clear credit is always given for our photos, usually with a description. To submit photos, email your image to Margaret Black. She will reply regarding information or abstracts associated with selected photographs. Please contact Margaret if you have any questions. We look forward to considering your work for the Home page and other APS projects.

Conference and Job Announcements

ICAP: The 21st International Conference on Atomic Physics, ICAP 2008, will be held from July 27-August 1, 2008, on the campus of the University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, USA. Talks will encompass forefront research in basic AMO physics, emphasizing atoms and their interactions with each other and with external fields. Information about the meeting can be found at the website Early registration ends April 18, 2008, and the deadline for submission of abstracts is June 9, 2008. There will be a one week Summer School for new AMO researchers held at the Harvard-MIT Center for Ultracold Atoms July 20-25, 2008.

CLEO/QELS: The APS Division of Laser Sciences wishes to make DAMOP members aware of the upcoming CLEO/QELS deadlines: CLEO/QELS and PhAST is a dynamic six-day event that successfully bridges the science and applications sides of the optics and photonics industry. Offering high-quality, cutting-edge programming, this show is a must attend event of the year! Your technical registration includes access to: Leading Technical Program - more than 150 invited speakers, nearly 1,700 technical sessions over five days, over 30 short courses, 18 tutorials, seven symposia including a Special Symposium in Tribute to Theodore Maiman. Dynamic Plenary Sessions - featuring esteemed speakers - David Reitze, Univ.of Florida, USA; Albert Polman, FOM-Inst. AMOLF, Netherlands; Ian A. Walmsley, Univ. of Oxford, UK - who will share their vision on current topics. Top-of-the-line Exhibition - a global show attracting visitors from over 40 countries with over 350 participating companies plus PhAST business programming on the show floor. Other Exciting Conference and Exhibit Events - poster sessions, career center, networking opportunities, and more! Register by April 9, 2008 and save ( Book your hotel room today to secure the best selection. We look forward to seeing you in San Jose, California. Sponsored by APS, IEEE-LEOS, and OSA.

Bridging Laboratory and Astrophysics: Topical Session at the 212th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) held between June 1-5, 2008, in St. Louis, Missouri (, and hosted by the AAS Working Group on Laboratory Astrophysics ( Regular Abstract Submission Deadline: 12 March 2008, 9 PM EDT Late Abstracts Submission Deadline: April 30, 2008, 9:00 p.m. EDT

This three day Topical Session will be devoted to the interplay between astrophysics and laboratory astrophysics, the Rosetta Stone that enables astronomers to interpret the cosmos. Astronomy is primarily an observational science detecting photons generated by atomic, molecular/chemical, and solid state physics. Our understanding of the universe also relies on knowledge of the evolution of matter (nuclear and particle physics) and of the dynamical processes shaping it (plasma physics). The quest to understand the cosmos rests firmly on scientific knowledge in these six areas of physics. These astrophysically motivated studies, which are comprised of both laboratory experiments and theoretical calculations, are collectively known as laboratory astrophysics. This Topical Session will consist of six sessions, each devoted to one of the subareas of Laboratory Astrophysics. Each session will include a keynote talk focusing on major astrophysical discoveries and the underlying role of laboratory astrophysics, one experimental presentation, one on theoretical work, and a concluding astrophysics talk presenting a hot topic and illustrating the important role of laboratory astrophysics. There will be a closing panel discussion. There will also be an associated poster session on Laboratory Astrophysics and all posters from all areas of Laboratory Astrophysics will be up for the full three day duration of the Topical Session.

Boulder Summer School: “Strongly Correlated Materials,” June 30 to July 18, 2008. Application form and information: Organizers: Colin Broholm, Piers Coleman, Allan MacDonald, Ashvin Vishwanath. The 2008 Boulder school presents a leading team of experimental and theoretical condensed matter physicists to lecture on diverse aspects of this burgeoning field of research. The school will focus primarily on pedagogy, seeking to provide students with a firm foundation in the key theoretical and experimental methods, with extensive opportunities for informal and detailed discussion. Topics to be covered include fundamentals of Fermi liquid theory, magnetism and low dimensional materials, organic, oxide and heavy electron materials, diverse methods of spectroscopy and transport measurements and the link with strongly correlated physics of atom traps.

NSF AMO Rotator: The Physics Division at the National Science Foundation is seeking a Program Director for Atomic, Molecular, Optical, and Plasma Physics beginning in the fall of 2008. The position will be a one to two year "rotator" position. Applicants should have a Ph.D or equivalent training in a relevant field of physics, some administrative or managerial experience, broad knowledge of the physics research community in the U.S. and abroad, skill in written communication and preparation of technical reports, an ability to communicate orally, and several years of successful independent research normally expected of the academic rank of associate professor or higher. If you are interested in serving the AMO community as a rotator at the NSF, please contact the current Program Director, Charlie Conover, or the Physics Division’s Deputy Division Director, Denise Caldwell, to discuss the opportunity.

DOE OBES: Program Manager for Computational and Theoretical Chemistry, the Office of Basic Energy Sciences (, Office of Science, US Department of Energy, is seeking qualified applicants for a career federal position managing the Computational and Theoretical Chemistry Program, funding mission-oriented basic science at universities and national laboratories. The program encompasses a broad range of computational and theoretical approaches to scientific discovery in areas of interest to DOE. The research includes understanding and predicting the properties and chemical behavior of molecular systems and complexes in the gas phase, in solution, at interfaces, and in biological systems. It emphasizes development of new theories, methods and algorithms for applying theoretical and computational science and simulation to understanding chemical behavior and molecular properties in a wide range of environments, including new opportunities and challenges in complex systems, nanoscale materials, solar energy utilization, and ultrafast science. The program manager also assists in the allocation of computer resources at Office of Science high-performance computing facilities.

The announcement and on-line application instructions can be found via the BES website: or directly at USA Jobs: . Applications must be submitted by 11:00 p.m. on April 21, 2008. The Computational and Theoretical Chemistry Program spans the research programs of the BES Division of Chemical Sciences, Geosciences, and Biosciences Division, described at . For questions about this position and working at BES, please contact Michael Casassa, or Eric Rohlfing,