Friday, September 7, 2018 - Boulder, CO – As the bike rack outside the Millennium Hotel overflowed, many scientists locked their bikes to a nearby fence. In the Grand Ballroom, free coffee was flowing and over 100 physicists specializing in atomic matters were conversing. Despite the global diversity, everyone recognized faces in the crowd. These physicists all had something in common. They all once worked closely with Deborah Jin.
The Jin Fest was held September 7-8, 2018 to celebrate the scientific legacy of Deborah Jin. Jin, who was once a JILA Fellow, NIST Fellow, and adjoint professor of physics at the University of Colorado (CU) Boulder, made major contributions to the study of ultracold atomic and molecular physics.
Held just before Jin’s 50th birthday, this event was not unlike most other “fests” celebrating a scientist’s lifetime of achievements, said Eric Cornell, a conference organizer and close colleague of Jin, except that Jin died of cancer 2 years prior. This conference now celebrated Jin’s contributions without her presence.
Shortly after her appointments as NIST physicist and CU Boulder professor were cemented, Jin pioneered the development of ultracold atomic fermions. This work advanced our understanding of quantum behaviors, such as those in superconductors and chaotic cosmological environments, like neutron stars.
Not one to rest on prior achievements, Jin quickly advanced to a second frontier, as she and JILA Fellow Jun Ye created the first ultracold gas of polar molecules, enabling the first studies of ultracold chemistry.
In her lifetime, Jin was honored by many prestigious scientific societies. Specific awards include the Isaac New Medal from the Institute of Physics, the Comstock Prize in Physics from the National Academy of Sciences, and the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics from the Franklin Institute. Jin was also named a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur “genius” fellow, a Scientific American Research Leader of the Year, one of the “Most Influential Scientific Minds of 2014” by Thomson Reuters, and was rumored to be a strong candidate for the Nobel Prize in Physics.
Since her passing in 2015, Jin has continued to be honored by awards established in her name . This fest sought give those who know her best a chance to reflect on the impact of her work.
The conference program was organized by JILA Fellows Jun Ye, Ana Maria Rey, Cindy Regal, Eric Cornell, and John Bohn. While all worked closely with Jin, their relationships varied. Ye and Rey were close collaborators with Jin. Regal was a former student, later colleague. Cornell was a former advisor, later colleague. And Bohn was Jin’s longtime colleague, friend, and husband.
Over the two-day event, 18 talks presented new developments in the fields of ultracold and condensed atom dynamics. The speakers’ relation to Jin varied from former students to self-described longtime colleagues, competitors, and friends. While each presentation varied in content, one theme tied them closely: Jin advanced each research project, whether through direct correspondence or the laying of foundation.
The first speaker of the conference, Francesco Ferlaino, succinctly described the feelings suspended in the room. “I feel scientifically happy,” she said, citing the opportunity to discuss how she had furthered Jin’s research contributions, “but also sad, that she is not sitting in the audience, enjoying her legacy.”
JILA Fellows Jun Ye and Deborah Jin (1968 to 2016) have been named Highly Cited Researchers for 2017 by Clarivate Analytics (formerly Thomson Reuters).
The list of Highly Cited Researchers, published annually since 2014, recognizes scientists across the world with the greatest number (top 1%) of highly cited publications. The 2017 list covers the period from 2006 through 2016, and includes all categories of science. Ye and Jin are among 193 physicists across the world included in the list.
Publishing many papers which are frequently cited by other scientists is a mark of exceptional impact. Clarivate calls the people on the list “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds.” Clariviate's list recognizes researchers for their dedication and focus to expanding the sphere of human knowledge.
Although Debbie Jin passed away in September 2016, she remains on the list covering publications from the period 2006 through 2016, reflecting her enormous impact on science even during her courageous battle with cancer. Jin and Ye were close collaborators and friends, jointly publishing many of the key scientific papers on the production, characterization and applications of quantum degenerate gases of polar molecules.
The Ye group conducts a particularly broad and deep program in quantum science, including ultracold lattices of strontium atoms for world-leading atomic clocks and quantum many-body research, ultrastable lasers and femtosecond laser frequency combs, quantum degenerate molecular gases, and precision measurements.
Congratulations to Ye and Jin and their group members for their continuing innovations and impact on science.
Clarivate Highly Cited Researchers site
The American Physical Society is memorializing Fellow Deborah Jin by renaming the APS Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics (DAMOP) Award for “Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Atomic, Molecular, or Optical Physics." Henceforward, the award will be called the Deborah Jin Award for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Atomic, Molecular, or Optical Physics.
On April 27, 2017, the Deborah Jin Memorial Endowment Campaign reached its goal of raising $100,000 to supplement the award’s existing endowment fund. The income from this endowment will help with travel expenses for finalists and provide funding to make it possible for a more diverse group of students to attend the annual DAMOP meeting.
The Deborah Jin Award for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Atomic, Molecular, or Optical Physics recognizes thesis research of outstanding quality and achievement in these areas of physics. The award consists of a $2,500 stipend, a certificate citing the achievements of the recipient, and a travel allowance of $1,000 for finalists to attend the DAMOP annual meeting. At this meeting, the recipient of each year’s award is selected and presented with the award.
JILA Fellows who donated to the recent endowment campaign include Eric Cornell, John Hall, Cindy Regal, Ana Maria Rey, Jun Ye, and James Faller. Many former JILA students and postdocs as well as NIST colleagues and friends of Jin also made generous contributions to the fund.
M Squared Lasers generously sponsors the DAMOP award, which will now honor Deborah Jin in perpetuity while recognizing young researchers.
Deborah Jin and Katharine Gebbie are two of 10 prominent scientists featured in "Gone in 2016: Notable Women in Science and Technology" written by Maia Weinstock. The article appeared online in Scientific American blogs on December 28, 2016. Jin, who died on September 15, 2016 at age 47, was a visionary researcher in ultracold atomic physics. Gebbie, who died on August 17 at age 84, began her career as an astrophysicist at JILA, then rose through the ranks at the National Institute of Science and Technology to become director of NIST's Physical Measurement Laboratory. The loss of both women in 2016 was a great blow to JILA scientists and staff alike.
Fellows Jun Ye and Deborah Jin (1968–2016) have been named Highly Cited Researchers for 2016 by Thomson Reuters. Highly Cited Researchers is an annual list that recognizes leading researchers from around the world based on an analysis of their research publications The 2016 list recognizes the most-cited authors of research publications in the period 2004 through 2014. Ye and Jin are two of 110 people in the physics category in this year's list.
This is a particularly poignant accolade for JILA, as Deborah Jin passed away on September 15, 2016.
“This honor reinforces the huge impact Debbie Jin had on science and on people during her career,” said Tom O’Brian, Quantum Physics Division chief at JILA. “As Jun well knows, Debbie remained as active as possible in her research over the past year, with wonderful support from him and Eric Cornell. Her inclusion again on the list of most highly cited scientists is bittersweet––demonstrating the enormous impact Debbie had on physics and the great loss we are all feeling.”
Congratulations to Jun Ye for being a Highly Cited Researcher. Best wishes to him going forward with his work on quantum simulation, the world’s most accurate optical atomic clock, and the creation of ultracold potassium-rubidium molecules, a project envisioned in 2002 by the team of Jin and Ye, first achieved in 2008, and followed by years of trend-setting experiments in ultracold chemistry.
Deborah Jin passed away September 15, 2016, after a courageous battle with cancer. She was 47. Jin was an internationally renowned physicist and Fellow with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); Professor Adjunct in the Department of Physics at the University of Colorado Boulder, and a Fellow of JILA, a joint institute of NIST and the University of Colorado.
A bright light at JILA has gone dim much too soon. For more than two decades, Deborah Jin was a friend and mentor to her JILA colleagues, young scientists in training, and JILA staff members. She was a role model and inspiration for women scientists, and hopefully the future will bring more women like her into science. JILA is grieving her loss.
“Debbie was an incredible scientist, outstanding mentor, valued friend, and loving spouse and mother,” said Tom O’Brian, Quantum Physics Division Chief at JILA. “Her passing leaves a void at JILA, in the world-wide scientific community, and in the hearts of her family and friends that cannot be filled. Our deepest sympathies and thoughts are with Debbie’s family, and her friends and colleagues at JILA and across the world.”
Jin had many accomplishments and received much recognition for her work during an unusually productive career. She was a pioneer in polar molecule quantum chemistry. From 1995–1997, she worked with Eric Cornell and Carl Wieman at JILA on some of the earliest studies of dilute gas Bose-Einstein condensates, which form when particles known as bosons are cooled to just a few millionths of a degree above absolute zero (-459.67 °F). Since then she had continued to explore the physics of atomic gases at ultracold temperatures and investigates the link between superconductivity and Bose-Einstein condensation
Jin subsequently developed innovative technical systems to study the behavior of ultracold Fermi gases, whose atoms are particles known as fermions and can form a superfluid or Bose condensate, if they become correlated atom pairs. In 2003, her group made the first ultracold fermionic condensate, a new form of matter. Since 2004, her group has conducted detailed studies of the behavior of Fermi gases in the regime of strong interactions, or correlations.
In 2008, Jin collaborated with Fellow Jun Ye at JILA to create the first ultracold gas of polar molecules in the quantum regime. Using these ground-state potassium-rubidium (KRb) molecules, Jin and Ye began exploring ultracold chemistry in 2009. The team went on to use ultracold KRb molecules in a quantum simulator to investigate quantum behaviors.
"Debbie has forever changed my life with her friendship and scientific mind, and I am only one of many who were touched by her,” said Jun Ye. “No words can describe the deepest sense of void left by Debbie's passing. She was the best friend, the best colleague, and the best critic, all in one."
Dana Anderson, Chair of the JILA Institute, added "As a scholar and educator Debbie leaves behind an indelible legacy of achievement at the University."
In 2003, Jin received a MacArthur Fellowship (commonly known as a “genius grant”) from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. In 2013, she was named the L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science Laureate for North America. Her other prestigious awards include a 2002 Maria Goeppert Mayer Award, a 2004 Scientific American “Research Leader of the Year," a 2008 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics, a 2014 Institute of Physics Isaac Newton Medal, and the 2014 Comstock Prize in Physics. At the time of her election in 2005 and for several years afterward, Jin was the youngest member of the National Academy of Sciences.
“Deborah Jin was the definition of world-class faculty,” said CU Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano. "The international scientific community has lost a giant, and our campus has lost a mentor to young scientists and an inspiration to female scientists. She will be deeply missed in many quarters. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family."
Jin earned an A.B. in physics from Princeton in 1990 and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Chicago in 1995. From 1995 to 1997, she was a National Research Council research associate at JILA, where she was hired in 1997 as a NIST physicist and assistant professor adjoint at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Deborah Jin is survived by her husband, JILA Fellow John Bohn, their daughter Jackie Bohn, siblings Laural Jin O’Dowd and Craig Jin, and mother Shirley Jin.
Crist Mortuary is coordinating services for Debbie Jin. Information is available on the Crist website. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Debbie's name to either the Foundation for Women's Cancer or the World Wildlife Fund.
To share your remembrances or thoughts about Debbie Jin, please feel free to post them here.
Ming-Guang Hu successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis and graduated in December, 2015. Congratulations Ming-Guang! His thesis title is "Bose polarons and rotating gases in an ultracold Bose-Fermi gas mixture of 40K and 87Rb atoms".
CU undergraduate Josh Giles has joined the group this winter. Josh will be working on the strongly interacting Fermi gas experiment with Rabin Paudel, Roman Chapurin and Sean Braxton.
Graduate student Dhruv Kedar joined the group this semester (Fall 2015). Dhruv completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Chicago, and spent a year working in the ultracold atoms lab of Professor Selim Jochim at Heidelberg University before coming to UC Boulder.
Deborah Jin and Jun Ye are Highly Cited Researchers for 2015, according to the Thomas Reuters website. The website states, "Highly Cited Researchers 2015 represents some of world’s most influential scientific minds. About three thousand researchers earned this distinction by writing the greatest number of reports officially designated by Essential Science Indicators as Highly Cited Papers—ranking among the top 1% most cited for their subject field and year of publication, earning them the mark of exceptional impact."
Congratulations to Debbie & Jun on all their great research!
Tara Drake has successfully completed her Ph.D. Congratulations Tara! Tara has accepted a postdoc offer to work with Dr. Scott Papp in the NIST Optical Fequency Measurement Group.
Deborah Jin has been selected as chair-elect of the American Physical Society (APS) Nominating Committee. Beginning January 1, 2016, she will serve one year as Chair Elect, a year as Chair, and a year as Past Chair of the committee. The committee is charged with preparing a slate of at least two candidates for the positions of Vice President, Treasurer, Chair Elect of the Nominating Committee, and the vacant positions of General Councilor and International Councilor for APS elections each year.
"The American Physical Society is a great resource for our community and an important advocate for physics," Jin wrote in her candidate statement. She added that the success of APS is built on the willingness of its members to serve in various capacities. Jin is a Fellow of JILA, a Fellow of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and an adjoint professor of physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She earned a Bachelor's in physics from Princeton University and a doctorate in physics from the University of Chicago.
At JILA, Jin investigates the behavior of atomic and molecular gases at ultracold temperatures. She is recognized for the creation of the world's first ultracold gas of fermions and a superfluid of paired fermions. In collaboration with Jun Ye, she created and explores the behavior of ultracold potassium-rubidium molecules.
Jin is a Fellow of APS and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Her many accolades include a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship (a.k.a. "genius grant"), the APS Maria Goeppert Mayer Award, the Service to America Medal: Science; the APS I. I. Rabi Award, the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics, Sigma Xi's William Proctor Prize for Scientific Achievement, a Department of Commerce Gold Medal, the L'Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science Award for North America, and the National Academy of Sciences Comstock Prize.
REU student Lauren De La Fuente has joined the Jin group for the summer. Lauren is working with Rabin, Roman, Sean, and Tara on the ultracold Fermi gas experiment.
Zhengkun (Quinn) Fu joined the group as a postdoc in March 2015. Zhengkun completed his Ph.D. at Shanzi University in the group of Professor Jing Zhang. Zhengkun is working with graduate students Steven Moses and Jacob Covey on the ultracold polar molecule experiment.
CU undergraduate Carlos Lopez-Abadia has joined the group this summer. Carlos will be working on the strongly interacting BEC experiment with graduate students Cathy Klauss and Xin Xie.
Two undergraduate researchers in the group will be graduating with honors this semester.
David Goldberger worked on the strongly interacting Bose-Einstein condensate experiment with graduate students Cathy and Xin. David's honors thesis is titled "Improving Imaging Resolution for In-Situ Measurements of Bose-Einstein Condenstates". David will graduate with summa cum laude Latin honors.
Jamie Shaw worked on the ultracold molecule experiment with graduate students Jake and Steve, and his honor's thesis is titled "External Electric Fields: A New Tool for Controlling Ultracold Polar Molecules". Jamie will graduate with cum laude Latin honors.
Congratulations to Jamie and David! They have both made many contributions to the experiments!
Postdoc Bryce Gadway has left the group for a faculty position at the University of Illinois. Congratulations, Bryce!
Michael Van De Graaff has joined the group. Michael is entering CU physics graduate student and recently graduated from Lawrence University. He joins Ming-Guang on a new project whose goal is to explore rotating quantum gases.
A newly released report from Thomson Reuters on "The World's Most Influential Scientific Minds 2014" includes JILAns Jun Ye and Debbie Jin. The selection of scientists for the report was based on an analysis of Web of Science and InCites citation reports for an 11-year period to identify those researchers who published the highest impact work from 2002–2012 and 2012–2013. The report concludes that these individuals are "influencing the future direction of their fields, and of the world."
Entering CU graduate student Matthew Miecnikowski has joined the group. Matthew received his undergraduate degree from Columbia University. He will be working on the ultracold polar molecule experiment with Bryce, Steven, Jake, and Jamie.
Deborah Jin has won the 2014 Isaac Newton Medal, the highest accolade given by the Institute of Physics. She was cited for her experimental work in laser cooling atoms. This work has led to the practical demonstration of universal laws that underpin fundamental quantum behavior.
"Professor Jin is an outstanding, clever, creative scientist," said Prof. Ed Hinds of the Imperial College London. "Her incredibly complex experiments have significantly advanced our understanding of the behavior of electrons in materials. Through her laser cooling of atoms, she has shown that half-integer spin fermions can be coupled to behave like full integer spin bosons.
"These fermion condensates and the work that she has undertaken on extremely cold polar molecules have helped us go deep into the quantum world, a world that we're only just starting to understand in complex many-body systems. Her work is likely to lead to profound advances in measuring and sensing, as well as quantum computing."
The IOP citation states that "ultracold Fermi gases now represent one of the major activities in all of atomic physics, an activity where Jin remains the leader and pioneer."
Ruth Bloom has successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis and is leaving the group for a job at Intel. Congratulations Ruth!
REU student Allison Mueller has joined the Jin group for the summer. Allison is working with Rabin, Roman, Sean, and Tara on the ultracold Fermi gas experiment.
Postdoc Yoav Sagi has left the Jin group for his new faculty position at Technion. Congratulations, Yoav!
Check out Yoav's new website here.
Deborah Jin has been awarded the 2014 Comstock Prize in Physics by the National Academy of Sciences. The Comstock Prize recognizes an innovative discovery by a North American resident in the fields of electricity, magnetism, or radiant energy.
Jin received this year’s Comstock Prize for “demonstrating quantum degeneracy and the formation of a molecular Bose-Einstein condensate in ultracold fermionic atoms gases, and for pioneering work in polar molecular quantum chemistry.” The honor includes a 25,000 prize and an additional $25,000 to support the recipient’s research.
”We are delighted that Debbie’s world leadership in ultracold atoms and molecules has been recognized with this major award,” said Tom O’Brian, Chief of the Quantum Physics Division, the NIST part of JILA.
Jin will receive the award at a ceremony in Washington, DC on Sunday April 27, 2014, during the Academy’s annual meeting. Jin was elected in 2005 to membership in the Academy, one of the youngest women to be elected to this leading organization of prestigious scientists. However, all North American residents are eligible for the Comstock Prize, and academy membership is not a criterion for selection.
The Comstock Prize was established through a fund established by Cyrus B. Comstock, a prominent member of the academy and Colonel in the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers who passed away in 1910. The Comstock Prize has been awarded about every five years since 1913.