Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Science: Today and Tomorrow
The chapters that follow expand on the brief discussion of the field contained in Part I. Chapter 1's three "case studies" provide selected examples of how the results of basic atomic, molecular, and optical (AMO) research have provided, or promise to provide, major economic and human benefits. Chapter 2 highlights a number of recent advances in AMO science, together with its impact on other fields of science and engineering. This chapter also includes a discussion of the importance of AMO science to the nation's economy, security, and infrastructure. The topics of education and human resources, and of funding and institutional and organizational infrastructure for research and development in AMO science, are addressed in Chapters 3 and 4, respectively. The economic impact of the field is considered in Chapter 5. Chapter 6 touches on AMO science in the United States compared with that in other countries. Appendix A enumerates the Nobel Prizes awarded in AMO science since 1964 to further illustrate some of the accomplishments of the field. Appendix B presents a graphical representation of the broad impact of AMO science. Appendix C provides a citation analysis as one means of illustrating the U.S. position in this field. Results of the survey sent to nearly 20,000 scientists, as well as the survey itself, are discussed and presented in Appendix D.
The examples in this part of the report illustrate the health and vitality of AMO science, its interfaces with many other fields of science and engineering, the inherently interdisciplinary nature of much of the research, and the diversity of the AMO scientific community. The various discussions also highlight the importance of the discoveries, data, and technologies provided by AMO science in the many areas of commerce, industry, and human welfare so important to our nation.