Fundamental Physics Investigators Prominent at Pan-Pacific Basin Meeting

Of the 190 participants at the 2nd Pan-Pacific Basin Workshop on Microgravity Sciences last week, 55 were investigators in the Microgravity Fundamental Physics program. David Lee presented the lead-off plenary talk, describing the excitement of the race to discover superfluidity in liquid 3He. Randy Hulet presented the final plenary talk on Friday, describing his recent observation of the Fermi pressure in ultracold lithium-6 atoms and showing pictorially the differing behaviors of bosons and fermions. The Fundamental Physics sessions drew crowds to hear about prospects for physicists to explore biological questions, about using liquid helium as a testbed for fundamental theories, and about observations of quantum behavior in clouds of atoms cooled to within a millionth of a degree of absolute zero. Dr. Charles Elachi, newly installed as the director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, described at the conference banquet address how the Fundamental Physics program fits into JPL's ambitious plans for space exploration.