Colloquia 2006

Atomic Physics and Search for Variation of Fundamental Constants

Dr. V. Dzuba,


4-5 p.m., Thursday, 9 March, 2006 .


School of Physics Common Room
Room 64 Old Main Building
The University of New South Wales

Theories unifying gravity with other interactions allow fundamental constants to vary. The search for manifestations of this variation spans the whole lifetime of the Universe starting from Bing Bang nuclear syntheses and ending in laboratory measurements. Interpretation of observations or measurements can be done with high level of precision and reliability when it is based on the analysis of atomic spectra.

Two methods of search for variation of fundamental constants using atomic spectra will be considered in this talk. One is the analysis of quasar absorption spectra and another is laboratory experiments with atomic clocks.

Recent results for quasars do suggest that alpha might be smaller in early Universe, however the results are controversial so far.

Comparing the rates of different atomic clocks over long time interval is a very promising method due to extremely high
accuracy of measurements. The method was used, for example, by 2005 Nobel Laureate T. Haench. Strong enhancement of the effect is possible in appropriately chosen atomic transitions.

The interpretation of all laboratory measurements and astronomical observations are based on calculations performed in our group.


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