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Prof Mete Atature one of Turkish GQ Magazine’s Men of the Year

last modified Jan 07, 2016 10:34 AM

Mete Atatüre, Fellow and Professor of Physics at St John’s, is one of Turkish GQ Magazine’s Men of the Year 2015 in recognition of his pioneering research in the field of quantum physics. 

The annual awards run by GQ, a men’s fashion magazine, celebrate influential men and women in a variety of areas including film, music, TV, science and politics. Other winners in 2015 include Norman Reedus, best known for his television role in The Walking Dead; Chris Noth who played Mr Big in Sex and the City and Turkish football player for Barcelona FC, Arda Turan. 

Professor Atatüre said: “I am happy to have received this award, but, perhaps more importantly, it is fantastic to see that science is recognised more and more in popular culture. I hope this award helps raise the profile of physics as a fun and exciting subject to study.”

The magazine has nicknamed Professor Atatüre “Profesör kahkaha” or “Professor Laughter” due to his friendly attitude and enthusiam for his research in fields including Atomic, Mesoscopic and Optical Physics. 

After receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in 1996 from Bilkent University in Turkey, Professor Atatüre obtained his PhD from the Quantum Imaging Laboratory at Boston University. He then worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Quantum Photonics Group at ETH Zurich, before coming to Cambridge in 2007.

Professor Atatüre’s research attracted media attention over the summer after he led a team of physicists that successfully measured particles of light being “squeezed”, in an experiment that had been written off in physics textbooks as impossible to observe. 

“Squeezing” is a strange phenomenon of quantum physics. It creates a very specific form of light which is “low-noise” and is potentially useful in technology designed to pick up faint signals, such as the detection of gravitational waves.    

In an experiment in the quantum optics laboratory in Cambridge, Professor Atatüre and his team successfully used laser light to excite individual tiny, artificially constructed atoms known as quantum dots, to create “squeezed” single light particles or photons. 

“My research is motivated by a desire to see what has never been seen before. It is just the same as wanting to look at Pluto in more detail or establishing that pentaquarks are out there”, said Professor Atatüre. “Neither of those things has an obvious application right now, but the point is knowing more than we did before.  We do this because we are curious and want to discover new things. That’s the essence of what science is all about.”

An article about Professor Atatüre’s research demonstrating the squeezing of light particles can be read here:

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