Tai T. Wu
- Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics; Professor of Physics
Professor Wu's researches include projects in classical electromagnetic radiation, statistical mechanics, and high-energy particle physics. Some of his work in these diverse fields are closely related through basic concepts and approaches.
One of Professor Wu's long-range projects is on scattering processes where the wavelength is much smaller than the size of the scatterer. Electromagnetic scattering in the short-wave limit is perhaps the simplest case. It is then natural to generalize to phenomena where the scatterer is atomic or nuclear in size and quantum effects dominate. This leads to the study of proton-proton scattering in the high-energy limit. In this case, it has been found that, contrary to common expectation, the total cross section increases with energy, a prediction that was later verified experimentally. Since 2008, it has been realized that such considerations apply not only to scattering processes but also to production processes. These new results remain to be checked experimentally.
Some further examples of Professor Wu's researches include the following: (1) The properties of linear antennas lying on or near the interface between two dielectric media. This problem is of great practical application. (2) The determination of the pair-excitation function for Bose-Einstein condensation in the presence of an external field. (3) Neutrino oscillation and the theory of neutrino masses. For example, the mass of the lightest neutrino has been found to be about 0.0013 eV; this remains to be measured. (4) Quantum computation. Although it is perhaps obvious, Professor Wu is one of the first persons to study quantum computation using the Schrodinger equation, including the spatial variables.