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Image of Prof. Heather Lewandowski and the JILA and Colorado University logos

Prof. Heather Lewandowski is this year's invited speaker to deliver the 2022 Rochester Lecture, which will be held in the Ph8 Lecture Theatre, Wednesday 18 May 2022 at 4.30pm. This year's lecture is titled 'Watching chemical reactions happen one molecule at a time'.

About the speaker:

Prof. Heather Lewandowski received her B.S. in physics from Michigan Tech in 1997 and her Ph.D. in physics from the University of Colorado in 2002. She was then an NRC Postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder. She is currently a professor and associate chair of physics at the University of Colorado, and a fellow of JILA. She leads two research programs, one in experimental molecular physics, and the other in physics education research. Her molecular physics research efforts focus on studying interactions and reactions of cold, chemically important molecules and ions. Her physics education research program studies ways to increase students’ proficiency in scientific practices such as using models and quantitative reasoning in experimental physics.  

About the lecture:

Control over the quantum states of atoms and molecules can lead to a fundamentally new understanding of how these particles interact and react. This knowledge has the potential to impact our ability to probe processes in planetary atmospheres and in the interstellar medium, as well as relevant terrestrial process such as combustion. Experimental techniques developed for control and measurement of atoms is now being used to study more and more complex molecules. We study these rich systems at low temperatures where we can trap and examine their properties for many minutes, as compared to small fractions of a second in standard experiments. Using these cold, trapped molecular ions, we investigate mechanisms of ion-molecule reactions to gain insights into the mechanisms driving these processes.

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