you to have improved efficiency in the electrical grid and
things like that. That’s very far down the road,” Campbell
All fellows at the institute, about 30, conduct experiments.
About half the fellows come from NIST and the rest from
the university. Campbell co-chairs the JQI with fellow Steve
Rolston. Because she is new to the position, they still are
ironing out their co-chair duties. “I’m learning the ropes. We
tend to do things in a collaborative manner and make decisions together,” Campbell says.
The JQI has an annual budget of about $7 million, which
has not grown much over the past 10 years. Its first-year
budget was $6 million. Recently, the organization has been
focused on its five-year review process, which should be
complete next month. University personnel had finished the
contact: George I. Seffers, firstname.lastname@example.org
“We’re really pushing the edge of what
you can do with technologies. At the
theoretical level, of course, there’s the
need to push the frontiers of knowledge.”
—Gretchen Campbell, co-director, Joint Quantum Institute
grant-writing process just before Campbell was appointed. “I
was lucky,” she quips.
Campbell began her association with NIST during a summer program when she was an undergraduate at Wellesley
College. For her first project, she was paired with researchers
studying laser cooling and trapping, a group in which she is
now a permanent staff member. Her work involved an optical
tweezer, which uses a focused beam of light to create small,
micron-size particles. Optical tweezers are useful for biological applications. “People have done experiments where they
attach little beads to DNA and then use these optical tweezers
to stretch out the DNA or measure them,” she reveals.
During her second summer at NIST, she worked on
ultracold atoms. “I came down, did the research, loved the
environment, loved the science and decided that was what
I wanted to do,” Campbell recalls.