Jean Dalibard is a physicist, specialist in the interaction between matter and radiation and more particularly in the manipulation of atoms by laser. He is known for his studies of the various mechanisms at play in the cooling of atoms by light, and more recently for his work on quantum matter such as Bose-Einstein condensates. Jean Dalibard was born in France and performed his undergraduate studies at the École normale supérieure in Paris, followed by a Ph.D. in Physics under the supervision of Claude Cohen-Tannoudji (1986). He was a researcher at the CNRS until 2012, the date of his election to the Collège de France where he holds the chair Atoms and Radiation. He was also a professor at the École polytechnique from 1989 to 2015, where he taught Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Optics. He is currently leading a research team at the Kastler Brossel laboratory in Paris. He was a visiting researcher at the National Institute for Standards and Technology (United States) and at the Cavendish laboratory at the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom). He is a member of both the French Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

Dalibard's team investigates the properties of quantum matter, obtained by cooling a gas of atoms to an extremely low temperature, of the order of a millionth of a degree above absolute zero. The behavior of these ultracold fluids exhibits spectacular features that are absent for ordinary fluids, such as superfluidity. His recent results relate to quantum physics in reduced dimension - planar fluids in particular ? as well as the behavior of spinor gases, i.e., when the presence of an internal atomic degree of freedom strongly modifies the collective properties of the fluid. Another line of study addresses the behavior of these ultra-cold gases in the presence of a gauge field, in direct connection with the quantum Hall effect known in solid-state physics. From a general point of view, ultra-cold gases can be used to model situations that one meets in other fields of physics, ranging from condensed matter to astrophysics, to nuclear science and to liquid helium physics. Therefore, the aim of Dalibard?s team is to take advantage of the well-mastered coupling between atoms and light to emulate other quantum systems that may be more difficult to control, and to improve in this way our general understanding of matter.

Membership Type

International Member

Election Year


Primary Section

Section 13: Physics