Plenary Lecture

2024 KPS Fall Meeting   October 22-25, 2024   Yeosu Expo Convention Center

”Individual atoms as clocks and bits”


Prof. David J. Wineland

Phillip H. Knight Distinguished Research Chair,
University of Oregon


TIME: April 21 (Thu.) 11:00-12:00


Atoms absorb electromagnetic radiation at precise discrete frequencies. Knowing this, a recipe for making an atomic clock is simple to state: we first need an oscillator to produce the radiation and a device that fixes the radiation frequency for maximum atomic absorption. We then simply count cycles of the oscillator; the duration of a certain number of cycles defines a unit of time, e.g., the second. Today, the most accurate clocks count cycles of radiation corresponding to optical wavelengths, around a million billion per second. At this level, many interesting effects, including those due to Einstein’s relativity, must be accounted for.

Atoms can also be used to store bits information. For example, we can label the atom’s lowest energy state a “0" and a state of higher energy a “1.” However, quantum systems such as atoms can also exist in “superposition” states, thereby storing both states of the bit simultaneously, a situation that makes no sense in our ordinary-day experience. Superposition leads to an exponential increase in memory and processing capacity. It would enable a quantum computer to simulate the action of other important quantum systems in cases where such a simulation would be intractable on a conventional computer.

Experiments in which laser-beam-manipulated “trapped” atomic ions are used to realize atomic clocks and the elements of a quantum computer will be described.




• University of California, Davis, Sept. 1961 - Dec. 1963
• University of California, Berkeley, Jan. 1964 - June 1965. [B.A., June 1965]
• Harvard University, Sept. 1965 - Nov. 1970 [M.A., June 1966; Ph.D., Nov. 1970]
  (Thesis adviser: Norman Ramsey)



• Postdoctoral Research Associate: University of Washington, Nov. 1970 - June 1975 (Adviser: Hans Dehmelt)
• Physicist, National Bureau of Standards (became National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 1989), Boulder, CO, August, 1975 – December, 2017
  - Leader, Ion Storage Group, 1979 - 2017:
  - NIST Fellow, 1988 – 2018
  - NIST Research Associate, January 1, 2018 – present
• Affiliate Faculty, Colorado State University, 1985 – 1993
• University of Colorado, Lectureship, 2000 – 2012, Professor Adjoint, 2012 – present
• University of Oregon
  - Philip H. Knight Distinguished Research Chair, January 2018 - present
  - Research Professor, Department of Physics January 2018 - present
  - member, Oregon Center for Optical, Molecular, and Quantum Science;
    January 2018 – present
• Advisory committee, IonQ, Inc., January 2020 - present



- Fellow, American Physical Society
- Fellow, Optical Society of America
- Member, Sigma Xi
- Member, org. committee, IEEE Conf. on Precision Electromagnetic Measurements, 1982
- Member, American Physical Society, DEAP Sympos. Committee, 1982 - 1985
- Chair (1989), vice-chair (1987), Gordon Conference on Atomic Physics
- Member, program committee, Int. Quant. Electronics Conf. (IQEC), 1987
- Member, local organizing committee, 12th International Conference on General Relativity and Gravitation (GR12), 1989
- Member, program committee, Fourth Symposium on Frequency Standards and Metrology, Ancona, Italy, 1988
- Member, Laser Spectroscopy Program Committee, IQEC '90
- Member, APS Laser Science Topical Group Fellowship Committee, 1989 - 1991
- Member, NAS Committee on Fundamental Constants and Basic Standards, '89 - '92
- Member, OSA Annual Meeting Technical Program Committee, 1990
- Chair, Arthur L. Schawlow Prize in Laser Science Committee (APS) 1991
- Chair, QELS '92 Laser Spectroscopy subcommittee
- Member, Davisson-Germer Prize committee, 1991
- Chair ('92 - '93), Vicechair ('91 - '92), APS Division of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics (DAMOP)
- Member, International Advisory Committee for the Int. Symposium on Atomic Frequency Standards and Coherent Quantum Electronics, Nara, Japan, Aug. '93.
- Co-Chair, 1994 International Conference on Atomic Physics (ICAP-14), Boulder, CO (with C. Wieman)
- Member, advisory committee for the Nobel Symposium on "Particle Traps and Related Fundamental Physics," Lysekil, Sweden, 1994
- Chair, National Academy of Sciences panel on Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics. (Spring '93 - Spring '96)
- Member, Local organizing committee, Fifth Symposium on Frequency Standards and Metrology, Woods Hole, Oct., 1995.
- Member, NSF AMOP Physics review panel, May, 1996
- Member, NAS Committee on Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Science (CAMOS) '93 - '96.
- Member, ICAP-15 International Program committee Jan. '95 - Aug. '96.
- Member, NBS Precision Measurements Grants Committee, 1978 - 1997.
- Member, Organizing Committee, Workshop on Nonneutral Plasmas, Boulder, July, 1997.
- Member, International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, Commission on Quantum Electronics, 1997 - 1999.
- Member, International Advisory Committee, Conference on Trapped Charged Particles and Fundamental Physics, Monterey, CA, August, 1998.
- Member, Program Committee, Int. Conf.on Atomic Physics (ICAP-16), Aug. 1998.
- Member, Quantum Optics Program Committee, IQEC, San Francisco, May, 1998.
- Member, Board of Editors, Review of Scientific Instruments, 1998-2000.
- Member, Program Committee, NASA Int. Conf. Quantum Computing and Quantum Communications, February, 1998.
- Chair, Subcommittee on Quantum Optics and Atom Optics, QELS, Baltimore, May, 1999.
- Member, AIP Visiting Scientist Program in Physics, 1993-2001.
- APS Centennial Speaker, 1998-99.
- Co-chair, QELS 2000 program committee, San Francisco, May, 2000.
- Member, IQEC-2000 subcommittee on ACold Atoms,@ Nice, September, 2000
- Member, Program Committee, International Conf. on Atomic Physics (ICAP-17), Florence, August, 2000.
- Member, Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) Executive Advisory Board and Technical Advisory Committee AInformation Physics: Non-classical Information Representation and Manipulation,@ 1999-2000.
- Member, steering committee, NSF Workshop and Report on Quantum Information Science, Dec., 1999.
- Member, International Conference on Quantum Advisory Committee (Rochester, 2001)
- Member, DAMOP Nominating Committee, 2001 - 2003
- General Co-chair, QELS 2002
- Member, International Advisory Committee, meeting on "Trapped Charged Particles and Fundamental Interactions,@ August, 2002, Wildbad Kreuth , Germany
- Chair, Southwest Quantum Information & Technology (SQuInT) Network Meeting, Boulder, CO, March, 2002.
- Member, Arthur L. Schawlow Prize in Laser Science Committee (APS), 2002-2003
- Member, Planning Committee, 4th Quantum Information Processing and Communication (QIPC), Oxford, UK, July, 2003.
- Member, William F. Meggers Award Committee (OSA) 1991, 1995, 2003
Member, Program committee, ERATO conference on Quantum Information Science 2004, Tokyo, Sept. 04
Chair, Program committee, Workshop on Quantum Information Science and Emerging Technologies (QISET), NIST, Boulder, April, 2004
- Member, Program committee, ICONO-2005 (International Conferences on Coherent and Nonlinear Optics) May, >05, St. Petersburg, Russia
- Member, FOCUS (U. Michigan) External Advisory Board, April >04, >05
Member, Advisory Editorial Board, Optics Communications, 2000 2006.
- Member, Advisory Committee, Canadian Institute for Research (Quantum Computing) 2002-2006.
- Member, Quantum Science &Technology Roadmap committee (ARDA/NSA sponsored), 2002-2006.
- Co-chair, Workshop on Trapped Ion Quantum Computing, Boulder, Feb. '06
- Member, Advisory Board, International Conference on Trapped Charged Particles and Fundamental Physics, TRIUMPF, BC-Canada, Sept. '06.
- Member, Evaluation Committee for the Center for Research in Optics and Photonics, São Carlos, Brazil 2007
- Co-Chair, Workshop on Ion Trap Technology, Boulder, CO, February, 2011.
- Member, program committee, QIPC 2011 (Zurich, Sept. 2011)
- Member, Herbert Walther Award Committee, 2011,2012
- Member, DAMOP Nominating Committee, 2009- 2010
- Member, DAMOP Rabi Prize Committee, 2010 – 2011
- Member, External Review Committee, U. C. Berkeley, Physics Department, 2012
- Chair, US nomination selection committee for OSA Herbert Walther Award, 2012
- Co-vice-chair, Gordon Research Conference on Quantum Science, 2012
- Member, Advisory Board, Center for Quantum Technologies, National University of Singapore, 2007 ~ 2014
- Member, National Security Agency Advisory Board (NSAAB) 2004 ~ 2012
- Co-chair, Gordon Research Conference on Quantum Science, 2014
- Member, program committee, Gordon Research Conference on Quantum Science, 2016
- Member, NSA Advisory Board on advanced computing 2013 ~ 2019
- Member, Advisory Board for the Center for Quantum Information and Control, University of New Mexico, 2017 ~ 2019
- Member, International Advisory Committee, Conference on Trapped Charged Particles and Fundamental Physics 1994 ~
- Member, ICAP (International Conference on Atomic Physics) International Advisory Committee, 1996 ~
- Member, Steering committee for SQuInT (South-Western Quantum Information Technology network), 1999 ~
- Managing co-editor, Quantum Information and Computation, 2001 ~
- Member, Technical Advisory Board, IonQ, (web site: Jan. 2020 ~
- “Coordinator” for the National Academy of Sciences decadal report on AMO physics, “An Assessment of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics in the United States,” sponsored by DOE, NSF and AFOSR. Fall, 2019
- Member, 2020, 2021, Micius Quantum Prize selection committees



• 1963, Phi Kappa Phi Sophomore Award (Highest Academic Record), U. C. Davis
• 1965, Phi Beta Kappa, Berkeley
• NSF Graduate Fellow, September 1965 - November 1970
• 1978 E.U. Condon Award, NBS, for written exposition
• 1980, Dept. of Commerce Silver Medal, for laser cooling. Shared with F. L. Walls and R. E. Drullinger
• 1985 Dept. of Commerce Gold Medal, for ion frequency standard. Shared with J. C. Bergquist, J. J. Bollinger, and W. M. Itano.
• 1985 E.U. Condon Award, NBS, for written exposition
• 1987, APS Fellow
• 1988, NBS (NIST) Fellow
• 1989 Samuel Wesley Stratton Award (NIST), for ion frequency standard development. Shared with J. C. Bergquist, J. J. Bollinger, and W. M. Itano.
• 1990 Davisson-Germer Prize (APS)
• 1990 William F. Meggers Award (OSA)
• 1990, OSA Fellow
• 1992, Member, National Academy of Sciences
• 1996 Soc. of Opt. & Quant. Electronics (Einstein medal for laser science, shared with Peter Knight, Imperial College)
• 1998 I.E.E.E. International Frequency Control Symposium, I.I. Rabi Award (for laser cooling and application to clocks)
• 2000 International Award on Quantum Communications (Tomagawa Univ.) for "Outstanding Contributions to Quantum Information Science." (shared with Chris Monroe and Paul Benioff)
• 2001 A. P. S. Schawlow Prize in Laser Science
• 2001 E. U. Condon Award (NIST), for written exposition (shared with J. C. Bergquist and S. R. Jefferts)
• 2003 Samuel Wesley Stratton Award (NIST), for experiments on quantum-state control of atoms
• 2004 Frederic Ives Medal (OSA), for atomic quantum state engineering
• 2004 Presidential Rank Award
• 2005 Frew Fellowship, Australian Academy of Science
• 2007 Alexander M Cruickshank Lecturer, Gordon Conference on Atomic Physics
• 2007 National Medal of Science
• 2008 Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Award for Science and Medicine
• 2009 Herbert Walther Award (DPG/OSA), for quantum information and metrology with ions
• 2010 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics (shared with Peter Zoller and J. Ignacio Cirac)
• 2011 E.U. Condon Award (NIST) for written exposition (shared with T. Rosenband)
• 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics (shared with Serge Haroche, Collège de France, Paris)
• 2013 Election to National Academy of Inventors
• 2013 Election to American Academy of Arts and Sciences
• 2014 Election to Academy of Achievement
• 2014 Presidential Rank Award
• 2014 Galileo Ferraris Prize, Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica, Turin, Italy
• 2015 Visiting Honorary Professor, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Hidalgo, Mexico
• 2015 Honorary member, Colombian Academy of Exact, Physical, and Natural Science
• 2017 Honorary member, Optical Society of America
• 2018 Honorary Professorships during visit to China, October 2018
  - Northwest University, Xi’an
  - University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC), Chengdu
  - Sichuan Normal University, Chengdu
  - Chengdu University, Chengdu
  - Chengdu University of Technology, Chengdu
  - Southwest Minzu University, Chengdu
  - Institute of Fundamental and Frontier Sciences (IFFS) at the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC)
• 2018 Micius Quantum Prize (awarded September 2019 by Micius Quantum Foundation, China)
• 2019 Doctor “Honoris Causa” University of Buenos Aires
• 2020 Honorary Fellowship in the Institute of Fundamental and Frontier Sciences (IFFS) at the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC)
• 2020 IRI (Innovation Research Interchange) award
• 2020 NIST Physical Measurement Laboratory Distinguished Associate Award
• 2021 IEEE UFFC Achievement Award (UFFC: Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control Society)
• 2021 Fellowship in the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE)
• 2021 Distinguished Associate Membership, Research Institute for Fundamental Sciences, Gebze, Turkey, Sept. 2021

This talk is hosted jointly by the Korean Physical Society and the Korea Institute for Advanced Study.