Barcelona hosts the International Conference on Atomic Physics (ICAP) with the presence of 6 Nobel laureates in physics

By July 23, 2018August 13th, 2018ICFO

From July 22nd-27th, the city of Barcelona will host the 26th International Conference on Atomic Physics, ICAP2018, the most important international conference in atomic physics, which will bring together scientists from all over the world and six Nobel laureates in physics: Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, William D. Phillips, Wolfgang Ketterle, Roy J. Glauber, Theodor W. Hänsch and Serge Haroche.

Organized jointly by one of the BIST centres, The Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO), as well as the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, the University of Barcelona, and the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, the conference will be held at the Palau de Congressos of Barcelona. It will gather experts from all over the world, who will share results and visions about the field of atomic physics, with an emphasis on topics such as quantum computing and communication, quantum gases, atomic clocks and quantum metrology, intense fields and ultra-fast science, among other issues.

The first ICAP conference was held in 1968 and since then, it has become one of the reference conferences worldwide. Bi-annually conference participants have the opportunity to share and discuss new discoveries in the field of atomic physics, a field of research that has managed to evolve unexpectedly since its origin, opening a new world in aspects related to the understanding of the atomic structure, the generation of laser light, the development of techniques for cooling and confinement of atoms and ions, as well as the achievement of Bose Einstein condensates and degenerated Fermi gases, among others.

This year, ICAP has organized two special events for both participants and the general public that will be running parallel to the main conference:

  • Round Table with six Nobel laureates: The first special event will take place on Tuesday, July 24 at 6:00 p.m. Six Nobel laureates will share and discuss their visions about the new trends in the field, the important achievements that have been obtained recently, as well as the discoveries that could be expected in the future. The Nobel laureates participating in this session are: Claude Cohen-Tannoudji (NP 1997 for the development of the method to cool and trap atoms with laser light), William D. Phillips (NP 1997 for the development of the method to cool and trap atoms with laser light), Wolfgang Ketterle (NP 2001 for obtaining Bose-Einstein condensates in diluted gases of alkaline atoms), Roy J. Glauber (NP 2005 for his contributions to quantum theory of optical coherence), Theodor W. Hänsch ( NP 2005 for his contributions to the development of precision laser-based spectroscopy including frequency combing techniques), and Serge Haroche (NP 2012 for the development of methods that allowed to measure and manipulate individual quantum systems).
  • Public Lecture on the “New SI” by William D. Phillips and Vanderlei Bagnato: the second event will be held on Thursday, July 26 at 19:30h and will be given by Professors William Phillips (NL) and Vanderlei Bagnato, who will give an update on the “new International System of Units (SI)”. The new SI will become effective in 2019, where four units, kilogram, ampere, the kelvin and mole, will be redefined in terms of natural physical constants, based on the fixed numerical values of Planck’s constant (h), the elementary charge (e), the Boltzmann constant (kB) and the Avogadro constant (NA), respectively. This lecture will explain the meaning and importance of these changes and provide a few demonstrations on how these new definitions will be implemented. This second event has been possible thanks to the Ignacio Cirac- Fundació Catalunya-La Pedrera chair at ICFO as well as additional support from Cellex Foundation.

As the organizing committee members of the conference, Maciej Lewenstein, Veronica Ahufinger, and Bruno Juliá-Diaz comment, “ICAP is the most important conference in atomic physics. The results discussed in this event represent the crème de crème of contemporary research, concerning both fundamental frontiers as well as technological challenges.”

For more information on the conference participants and the topics to be covered in this event, see