The utility of ultracold atomic gases as model systems derives from the facts that they are inherently “clean”, with no uncontrolled defects, impurities, or disorder, and that their physical properties, such as density, temperature, geometry, and perhaps most importantly, interaction strengths and tunneling rates are widely tunable. The prospect of employing ultracold atoms as model systems to simulate the known, unsolved condensed matter problems as well as to engineer a new class of conceptually interesting problems is more than well justified from these pioneering experiments and from an extensive theoretical investigation of the possibilities
Despite these amazing developments, the theoretical condensed matter community and the AMO experimental community have remained quite distant. The 2007 KITP Santa Barbara Program on cold atoms made an early effort to bring the two disconnected communities together, which was largely considered very productive. The present proposal aims to further foster a stronger collaboration between the two communities, to develop a common language, to bring up a new generation of young theorists that are well informed of the developments at both fronts.
We plan to bring the world’s top theorists from both the condensed matter and AMO physics communities to the program. In addition, we plan to invite a number of AMO experimentalists for a short visit (one to two week long) such that the program will constantly have experimentalists on site. Participants and short-term visitors will be selected from both inside and outside China. In particular, we aim to make this program become a platform for Chinese physicists to exchange and interact directly with their counterparts from all over the world, under a unified, common interest---the physics of cold atoms.