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Physics in a New Era

An Overview

Physics Survey Overview Committee

Board on Physics and Astronomy

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.



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Page i Physics in a New Era An Overview Physics Survey Overview Committee Board on Physics and Astronomy Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C.

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Page ii NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This project has been supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under Grant No. NAG 5-6839, the Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-FG02-98ER-41069, and the National Science Foundation under Grant No. PHY-972-4780. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsors. Front cover: An example of a form of abstract composition known as Marian vectors, based on mathematical processes. Courtesy of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. International Standard Book Number 0-309-07342-1 Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 2001-089190 Copies of this report are available from: National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Lockbox 285 Washington, DC 20055 (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area) Internet < http://www.nap.edu > and Board on Physics and Astronomy National Research Council, HA 562 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20418 Copyright 2001 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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Page iii THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES National Academy of Sciences National Academy of Engineering Institute of Medicine National Research Council The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an advisor to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was established by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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Page iv

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Page v PHYSICS SURVEY OVERVIEW COMMITTEE THOMAS APPELQUIST, Yale University, Chair DAVID ARNETT, University of Arizona ANDREW G. COHEN, Boston University SUSAN N. COPPERSMITH, University of Chicago STEVEN C. COWLEY, University of California at Los Angeles PETER GALISON, Harvard University JAMES B. HARTLE, University of California at Santa Barbara WICK HAXTON, University of Washington JAY N. MARX, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory CHERRY ANN MURRAY, Lucent Technologies CHARLES F. STEVENS, Salk Institute for Biological Studies J. ANTHONY TYSON, Lucent Technologies CARL E. WIEMAN, JILA/University of Colorado at Boulder JACK M. WILSON, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute DONALD C. SHAPERO, Director, Board on Physics and Astronomy ACHILLES SPELIOTOPOULOS, Program Officer JOEL R. PARRIOTT, Program Officer SARAH A. CHOUDHURY, Senior Project Associate NELSON QUIÑONES, Project Assistant

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Page vi BOARD ON PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY JOHN P. HUCHRA, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Chair ROBERT C. RICHARDSON, Cornell University, Vice Chair GORDON A. BAYM, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign WILLIAM BIALEK, NEC Research Institute VAL FITCH, Princeton University WENDY FREEDMAN, Carnegie Observatories RICHARD D. HAZELTINE, University of Texas at Austin KATHRYN LEVIN, University of Chicago CHUAN LIU, University of Maryland JOHN C. MATHER, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center CHERRY ANN MURRAY, Lucent Technologies JULIA PHILLIPS, Sandia National Laboratories ANNEILA I. SARGENT, California Institute of Technology JOSEPH H. TAYLOR, JR., Princeton University KATHLEEN C. TAYLOR, General Motors Research and Development Center CARL E. WIEMAN, JILA/University of Colorado at Boulder PETER G. WOLYNES, University of California at San Diego DONALD C. SHAPERO, Director ROBERT L. RIEMER, Senior Program Officer JOEL R. PARRIOTT, Program Officer ACHILLES SPELIOTOPOULOS, Program Officer SARAH A. CHOUDHURY, Senior Project Associate NELSON QUIÑONES, Project Assistant

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Page vii Preface Physics in a New Era: An Overview is the culmination of the National Research Council survey series Physics in a New Era. The survey was proposed by the Board on Physics and Astronomy, continuing the tradition of periodic reviews of physics by the National Research Council. The overview is the final volume of the survey and was welcomed and supported by the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Volumes published previously in the series are Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Science: An Investment in the Future (1994) (the AMO science survey), Plasma Science: From Fundamental Research to Technological Applications (1995), Elementary-Particle Physics: Revealing the Secrets of Energy and Matter (1998), Nuclear Physics: The Core of Matter, The Fuel of Stars (1999), Condensed-Matter and Materials Physics: Basic Research for Tomorrow's Technology (1999), and Gravitational Physics: Exploring the Structure of Space and Time (1999). In addition to these six volumes, which are known as the area volumes, the survey includes four more: Cosmology: A Research Briefing (1995), Cosmic Rays: Physics and Astrophysics (1995), Neutrino Astrophysics: A Research Briefing (1995), and The Physics of Materials: How Science Improves Our Lives (1997). A related study that was recommended by the AMO science study is entitled Harnessing Light: Optical Science and Engineering for the 21st Century (1998). The area volumes review recent achievements, describe goals of the subdisciplines for the new decade, and identify the research programs with the highest priority for advancing those goals. The six area volumes are available online through the Board on Physics and Astronomy's Web site, < http://www.national-academies.org/bpa/reports>. Since each volume surveys a rapidly developing area, the later volumes are naturally more up to date than those completed several years ago. The AMO science study is already being updated. The recommendations, nevertheless, remain perti-

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Page viii nent and have served as a foundation for the present volume, which addresses physics as a whole. The Physics Survey Overview Committee was asked to survey the field of physics broadly, identify priorities, and formulate recommendations, complementing the field-specific discussions in the area volumes. The overview assesses the state of physics in four broad categories—quantum manipulation and new materials, complex systems, structure and evolution of the universe, and fundamental laws and symmetries—emphasizing the unity of the field and the strong commonality that links the different areas, while highlighting new and emerging ones. The importance of international cooperation in many areas of physics is emphasized. The overview goes on to discuss the challenges facing physics education, from K-12 through graduate school, and the expanding connections of physics with other fields of engineering and science, including the biological sciences. It also describes the impact of physics on the economy, in particular on the development of information technology; the role of physics in national security; and the many contributions of physics to health care. The breadth of the overview is reflected in its priorities and recommendations. They are meant to sustain and strengthen all of physics in the United States and enable the field to serve important national needs. They are not subfield-specific, but the committee believes that they are compatible with and complementary to the priorities and recommendations of the area volumes. The report identifies six high-priority arenas of research, cutting across the traditional subfields. It concludes with nine recommendations touching on levels of support, education, national security, planning and organization, and the role of information technology in physics.

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Page ix Acknowledgments The committee was helped in its work by a great many people. It is especially grateful to Bertram Batlogg, Mark Brandon, D. Allan Bromley, Rad Byerly, Sidney Drell, Murray Gibson, Steven Girvin, Will Happer, Mark Ketchen, Steven Koonin, James Langer, Thomas Mason, Jeffrey Park, Nicholas Samios, F.M. Scherer, Robert Socolow, and Peter Webster. It also expresses its gratitude to the American Physical Society, to the Society's executive officer, Judy Franz, and to the many members of the APS who responded so thoughtfully to its request for advice. The committee would like to thank Donald C. Shapero, Robert L. Riemer, Achilles Speliotopoulos, and the entire staff of the Board on Physics and Astronomy for their many valuable contributions throughout the preparation of the overview. Grant support for the work of the committee has come from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The committee thanks them for this support. Finally, it acknowledges its great debt to David N. Schramm, under whose chairmanship of the Board on Physics and Astronomy the decadal survey Physics in a New Era began. The committee dedicates this overview to his memory. Thomas Appelquist, Chair Physics Survey Overview Committee

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Page xi Acknowledgment of Reviewers This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: John A. Armstrong, IBM Corporation (retired), Gordon Baym, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Radford Byerly, Independent Consultant, Persis Drell, Cornell University, David Gross, University of California at Santa Barbara, Sol Gruner, Cornell University, William Happer, Princeton University, Daniel Kleppner, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carl Lineberger, JILA/University of Colorado, John C. Mather, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Albert Narath, Lockheed Martin Corporation (retired), Venkatesh Narayanamurti, Harvard University, V. Adrian Parsegian, National Institutes of Health, Julia Phillips, Sandia National Laboratories, Judith Pipher, University of Rochester, and Paul Steinhardt, Princeton University. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions

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Page xii or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Pierre Hohenberg, Yale University, appointed by the Report Review Committee, who was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of the report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

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Page xiii Contents Executive Summary 1 Introduction 9 Part I     Physics Frontiers     1     Quantum Manipulation and New Materials 19         New Tools for Observation in the Quantum Regime 20         Manipulating Atoms and Electrons 22         New Materials 28         Artificial Nanoscale Structures 31         Quantum Information and the Engineering of Entangled States 33     2     Complex Systems 37         Nonequilibrium Behavior of Matter 38         Turbulence in Fluids, Plasmas, and Gases 41         High-energy-density Systems 43         Physics in Biology 45         Earth and Its Surroundings 51     3     Structure and Evolution of the Universe 55         New Tools: New Windows on the Universe 56         New Links 61         Questions and Opportunities 68     4     Fundamental Laws and Symmetries 70         Hidden Symmetries and the Standard Model 71         New Physics for a New Era 79         The Length Scales of Nature 86

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Page xiv Part II     Physics and Society     5     Physics Education 91         K-12 Physics 94         Undergraduate Physics 96         Graduate Education 103         Summary 106     6     Health and Biomedical Sciences 107         Therapy 107         Diagnosis 108         Understanding the Body 113         Summary 115     7     The Environment 116         The Ocean-Atmosphere System 116         Environmental Monitoring and Improvement 117         Energy Production and the Environment 120         Summary 121     8     National Security 122         The Department of Energy 122         The Department of Defense 127         Summary 130     9     The Economy and the Information Age 131         Integrated Circuits 135         Optical-fiber Communication 138         Information Storage 144         Summary 148 Part III     Investing in Our Future: Priorities and Recommendations     10     A New Era of Discovery 151         Foundations 151         Scientific Priorities and Opportunities 153

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Page xv     11     Recommendations I: Physics and the Wider Society—Investment, Education, and National Security 157         Investing in Physics 157         Physics Education 161         Big Physics, Small Physics 162         National Security 166     12     Recommendations II: Strengthening Physics Research—Partnerships, Federal Science Agencies, and Physics Information 168         Partnerships 168         Federal Science Agencies 170         Physics Information 171 Index 173

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Page xvi List of Sidebars Scanning Tunneling Microscope. Image courtesy of IBM Research, Almaden Research Center. 21 Neutrons As Probes. Insulin image courtesy of Brookhaven National Laboratory; SNS image courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy facility managed by United Technologies-Battelle. 23 Atomic Clocks. Image of clock courtesy of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. 26 High-temperature Superconductivity. Image courtesy of J.C. Davis, University of California at Berkeley, and S.H. Pan, Boston University. 29 Quantum Cryptography. Images courtesy of Los Alamos National Laboratory. 35 Suppressing Turbulence to Improve Fusion. Images courtesy of Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. 42 Earth's Dynamo. Images courtesy of Gary Glatzmaier, University of California at Santa Cruz. 44 Protein Folding. Image courtesy of IBM Research. 47 Pinatubo and the Challenge of Eruption Prediction. Image courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey. 53 Next Steps in the Exploration of the Universe. Sloan image courtesy of Fermilab Visual Media Series; Chandra image courtesy of NASA/CXC/SAO. 56 Three New Windows. MAP image courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; LIGO image courtesy of LIGO Laboratory; BOREXINO image courtesy of the BOREXINO Group. 57

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Page xvii Dark Matter Then and Now. COBE image courtesy of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and the COBE Science Working Group; cosmic mirage image courtesy of J. Anthony Tyson, Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, Wesley N. Colley, Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and Edwin L. Turner, Princeton University and NASA. 60 Stars in the Laboratory. Instability and researcher images courtesy of Los Alamos National Laboratory; Omega laser experiment image courtesy of David Arnett, University of Arizona. 66 Tools of the Trade. Images courtesy of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. 73 Societal Benefits from Accelerator Science. Image courtesy of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 74 Recreating the Early Universe in the Laboratory. Image courtesy of Brookhaven National Laboratory. 77 Massive Neutrinos and Neutrino Astrophysics. Image courtesy of the Institute for Cosmic Ray Research, University of Tokyo. 81 Gravity. Time magazine cover courtesy of TimePix; colliding black holes image courtesy of Joe Libson, Joan Masso, Edward Seidel, Wai-Mo Suen, and Paul Walker, National Center for Supercomputing Applications, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; string diagram courtesy of Joe Polchinski, University of California at Santa Barbara. 84 Research Experiences for Undergraduates. Image courtesy of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory. 102 Computerized Tomography. Image courtesy of Charles F. Stevens, Salk Institute for Biological Studies. 110 Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Image courtesy of Charles F. Stevens, Salk Institute for Biological Studies. 112 Optical Tweezers. Image courtesy of Charles F. Stevens, Salk Institute for Biological Studies. 114 Monitoring the Environment. Image courtesy of Barry Ross. 119 The World Wide Web. Image courtesy of CERN; text based on an article in Physics Today, vol. 51 (November 1998), pp. 30-36. 132 MEMS for Optical Switching and High-density Storage. Lightwave image courtesy of Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies; millipede image courtesy of IBM Research. 143 Nanocrystals: Building with Artificial Atoms. Image courtesy of IBM Research. 147

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Page xix Physics in a New Era An Overview

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