August 18, 2005
Vol. 24 No. 20

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    Physics doctoral student meets Nobel laureates at yearly gathering

    By Steve Koppes
    News Office


    Each year since 1951, Nobel Prize winners in chemistry, physics, physiology and medicine have met in Lindau, Germany, with a select group of graduate students from across the world to discuss major issues of importance to their fields of research. Rafael Jaramillo, a doctoral student in Physics, was among 25 graduate students sent by the National Science Foundation to this summer’s 55th Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates and Students.

    This year, 61 students sponsored by the NSF, the U.S. Department of Energy and Oak Ridge Associated Universities, as well as many students from other nations, attended lectures by the laureates and met with them informally in small groups to discuss a wide range of issues about their research and other activities.

    All told, 720 students and 44 laureates from around the world attended this year’s gathering, including former University Trustee Frank Wilczek, who shared the 2004 Nobel Prize in physics. Wilczek, who served on the Board of Trustees from 1998 to 2003, also is a Chicago alumnus (S.B.,’70).

    Jaramillo is the fifth University student to participate in the annual Lindau Meeting since 2000. A National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, Jaramillo began his graduate studies in Physics at Chicago in 2003. He works in the laboratory of Thomas Rosenbaum, the James Wilson Distinguished Service Professor in Physics and Vice President for Research and for Argonne National Laboratory.

    Jaramillo is studying the changes that occur in the magnetic behavior of chromium at high pressures and low temperatures.

    His experiments are conducted at -452 degrees Fahrenheit or below in order to observe phenomena that are dictated by quantum mechanics, the laws of physics that govern subatomic particles.

    At higher temperatures, these phenomena are obscured by classical mechanics, the basic laws of everyday physics.

    “The Laureates were shining examples of how perseverance and self-confidence can pay off in the end,” said Jaramillo. “To learn this lesson from such luminaries is immensely valuable to me.”