Benedict and the Speed of Light: How the pope called us toward the quickened life of God

Light moves very slowly at Harvard. That’s because Prof. Lene Vestergaard Hau did what what Einstein himself would have had difficulty imagining: she harnessed light. The key to doing so was figuring out how to super-cool atoms so that they acted as if they were just one, dense, nebulous atom. With the help of some nifty lasers used to cross-manipulate sodium atoms (like the ones found in table salt), Hau was able to cool these atoms to just a few billionths of a degree above absolute zero, creating a cloud of the coldest matter in the universe. This cloud is capable of taming and even containing light. So when Hau sent a pulse of light moving at 186,000 miles/second into this cloud, she was able to slow the light down to first 38 miles/hour, then 15 miles/hour and now even 1 mile/hour. This means that a person could crawl faster than the speed of light. Hau has refined her technique so well that she can even trap light indefinitely in her atom cloud. The virtually unfathomable speed of light is, in her laboratory, reduced to commonplace human terms. ... read more at America Magazine