Frank A. Wilczek School of Natural Sciences Institute for Advanced Study Princeton, N.J.
Subtle and beautiful quantummechanical correlations, under the rubric "Berry's phase," have attracted much attention in various parts of physics over the past few years. Ingenious experiments in nuclear magnetic resonance imaging and in optics have been performed to demonstrate the effects of these phases. However, probably the richest and potentially most fruitful applications should be to electron spectroscopy of chemical systems. The technique of laser excitation is just now becoming sufficiently refined to preserve this phase information.
J.A. Cina, "Phase-controlled optical pulses and the adiabatic electronic sign change," Physical Review Letters, 66, 1146-9, 4 March 1991. (University of Chicago, Ill.)
Numerical experiments on powerful computers allow one to probe theoretically fundamental but experimentally inaccessible realms of physics. Using what I believe is currently the world's fastest computer, physicists at Columbia have simulated the behavior of QCD (quantum...