Department of Physics Establishes the Deborah Jin Fellowship

jin_with_caption.pngDeborah (Debbie) Jin was an internationally renowned physicist. In 2003, she received a MacArthur Fellowship (commonly known as a “genius grant”) from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. In 2013, she was named the L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science Laureate for North America.  Her other prestigious awards include a 2002 Maria Goeppert Mayer Award, a 2004 Scientific American “Research Leader of the Year," a 2008 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics, a 2014 Institute of Physics Isaac Newton Medal, and the 2014 Comstock Prize in Physics. At the time of her election in 2005, Jin was the youngest member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Debbie Jin passed away September 15, 2016, after a courageous battle with cancer. She was 47. Jin earned an A.B. in physics from Princeton in 1990, and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Chicago in 1995 under supervision of Thomas Rosenbaum. From 1995 to 1997, she was a National Research Council research associate at JILA, where she was hired in 1997 as a NIST physicist and assistant professor adjoint at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

About the Fellowship

Debbie Jin was a role model and inspiration for scientists, men and women alike. The Department is establishing the Fellowship to bring more outstanding women into science.  Gifts of all sizes are appreciated.  The Fellowship will be given to an incoming female physics graduate student at the University of Chicago.

How to Donate

Click the button below to make a donation on the University of Chicago's Campaign page using your credit card.


If you would prefer to send a check, please make it out to The University of Chicago with "Deborah Jin Fellowship" in the memo space and mail it to:

Young-Kee Kim, Chair
Department of Physics
The University of Chicago
5720 S. Ellis Ave, KPTC 201
Chicago IL 60637

Her Achievements

Debbie Jin had many accomplishments and received much recognition for her work during an unusually productive career. She was a pioneer in polar molecule quantum chemistry. From 1995–1997, she worked with Eric Cornell and Carl Wieman on some of the earliest studies of dilute gas Bose-Einstein condensates, which form when particles known as bosons are cooled to just a few millionths of a degree above absolute zero (-459.67 °F).  Since then she had continued to explore the physics of atomic gases at ultracold temperatures and investigates the link between superconductivity and Bose-Einstein condensation

Jin subsequently developed innovative technical systems to study the behavior of ultracold Fermi gases, whose atoms are particles known as fermions and can form a superfluid or Bose condensate, if they become correlated atom pairs. In 2003, her group made the first ultracold fermionic condensate, a new form of matter. Since 2004, her group has conducted detailed studies of the behavior of Fermi gases in the regime of strong interactions, or correlations.

In 2008, Jin collaborated with Jun Ye to create the first ultracold gas of polar molecules in the quantum regime. Using these ground-state potassium-rubidium (KRb) molecules, Jin and Ye began exploring ultracold chemistry in 2009. The team went on to use ultracold KRb molecules in a quantum simulator to investigate quantum behaviors.