Professor Ed Hinds
Imperial College, London
Testing fundamental physics with cold molecules
Cold and ultracold molecules provide a sensitive way to search for new physics, e.g. variation of fundamental constants, dark energy, or new elementary particles. I will describe some of these ideas, with particular emphasis on the search for a permanent electric dipole moment of the electron, which already provides a strong constraint on possible supersymmetric theories of particle physics. Laser cooling, already very successful in cooling atoms, can now be applied to molecules. I will discuss the recent advances in that area and the extraordinary sensitivity that this new approach can bring to tests of fundamental physics.
Ed Hinds is a Royal Society Research Professor (since 2006) and a Chair in Physics (2002) at Imperial College London. He received his B.A. (1971) and D.Phil. (1974), both in Physics, from Oxford University. Before joining Imperial, Ed worked at Columbia (1975-1976), Yale (1976-1995) and University of Sussex (1995-2002). He is the Founder and Director of the Centre for Cold Matter at Imperial College.
Awards include Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellow (1998), Alexander von Humboldt Research Prize (1998), EPSRC Senior Research Fellow (1999), Fellow of the Royal Society, Royal Society Research Professor (2006), IoP Thomson Medal and Prize (2008), Royal Society Rumford Medal (2008), IoP Faraday Medal and Prize (2013).
Ed’s aim is to study fundamental problems in physics and to develop new methods for producing and manipulating cold atoms and molecules, leading to new technology. His work can be described under three headings: (i) Quantum manipulation of atoms and photons on atom chips; (ii) Production and applications of cold molecules; (iii) Tests of fundamental physical laws, especially measurement of the electron’s electric dipole moment (i.e. its shape).