4 July 4 2014—The Institute of Physics (IOP; London) announced this week the award of the 2014 Isaac Newton Medal to physicist Deborah Jin, a fellow with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (Boulder, Colo., U.S.A) and adjunct professor of the University of Colorado, Boulder. Jin is also a fellow of the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics, also in Boulder, where in 1999 she was the first to produce an ultra-cold, quantum-degenerate atomic gas of fermions. She and then-Ph.D. candidate Brian DeMarco used a laser to cool fermionic atoms to near absolute zero to create a Fermi condensate.

Study of ultra-cold Fermi gases was previously inaccessible, so the development sparked a wave of new research and resulting insights in superconductivity, quantum computing and other electronic effects in materials.

The IOP’s international Isaac Newton medal, the group’s highest accolade, is awarded annually to a scientist for outstanding contributions to physics.