Cool down!

Professor Deborah Jin made a groundbreaking discovery by cooling molecules to the point that she was able to observe all of their chemical reactions. This very difficult operation is the starting point to discovering new energy sources and new ways to treat diseases. What we learned from the American scientist: cool down and take your time to experiment!

DiscovHER - What are some of the larger impacts anticipated from your work ?

Deborah Jin - My research is very fundamental in nature, meaning that the goal is to advance scientific understanding. Breakthroughs in our understanding have the potential to lead to transformative impacts on society. The creation of ultracold molecules and the study of chemical reactions in this utterly new regime of low temperatures could help advance our understanding of chemical dynamics. The ultracold molecule work may also have impacts on precision measurements that advance our understanding of the universe, may advance new precision measurement tools such as optical molecular clocks, may provide new methods for quantum computing, or may advance on our understanding of the behavior of electrons in materials that are important for technology.


D/H - Could you share a pivotal development from your research?

DJ - Scientific breakthroughs for me have been a result of experiments. There are always many steps along the way, but it is exciting when you first observe something or when things come together in the experiment and you realize that you are on the brink of creating something new. As we were working toward creating a gas of ultracold molecules, the first time we showed we could coherently change the vibrational state of the molecules, it suddenly became clear that this ambitious project was really going to work and be successful.


D/H - What have you determined to be the biggest challenges throughout your career ?

DJ - On the whole, and in comparison to many places, scientists in the United States are able to focus on advancing scientific questions, both basic and applied, which is exactly the challenge that most scientists want to tackle. One societal challenge for U.S. scientists is to increase scientific literacy and an appreciation for the importance of science among the general public.


More about Professor Deborah Jin:


L’Oréal–UNESCO
For Women in Science

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