UConn Physics Colloquium

The Casimir Effect: Theory and Practice

Robert L. Jaffe
Morningstar Professor of Physics
and MacVicar Faculty Fellow
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Over half a century ago, Hendrik Casimir predicted the existence of a force between grounded conducting plates due to their effect on the vacuum fluctuations of the electromagnetic field. Casimir's force depends only on Planck's constant, the speed of light, and the distance between the plates. Recently, new experimental methods have confirmed Casimir's prediction with great precision. The "Casimir Effect" has been interpreted as direct evidence for quantum effects in the vacuum and applied to everything from micromachinery to the cosmological constant. I will review the origins and critique the interpretation of the Casimir Effect, review the stunning experimental progress of recent years, and finally, describe a new way to calculate Casimir forces based on classical ray optics!

Friday, October 27, 2006
4:00 pm
Gant Science Complex
Physics Department
Room P38

(We will meet for refreshments prior to the talk at 3:30 p.m., in the Gant Science Complex, Physics Library, Room P-103.)

© 2006 Department of Physics, University of Connecticut
This page was last updated by WWW administrator on October 16, 2006

Valid HTML 4.01! Text only page version