Greg A. Smith's Career

A good place to start a discussion about my career is with my current work. For the past few years, I have been a professional student. In other words, I work long days, at odd hours, for little pay, and I enjoy it!

I am a firm believer in the idea that work should be enjoyable above all else. The details of my work in the Laser Cooling Group at the University of Arizona can best be described as a study of fundamental quantum measurements. While this topic probably sounds very theoretical in nature, the real fun lies in the hands-on aspect of making these measurements. The tricks required in order to measure the effects from a miniscule number of atoms are quite mind-boggling. For example, the color of laser light has to be set accurately to within one part in 100 million and the atoms must be cooled to such an extent that they become colder than atoms in outer-space! My particular work involves measuring polarization rotations of about 0.005º and I have had to develop techniques to measure magnetic fields to an accuracy that is one part in 100,000 of the field generated by Earth! These are the types of challenges that make my work fun.

For a more complete picture of my research and knowledge, please download my pdf resumé.

View a complete listing of my publications [text version]

Although the goal of the research is to obtain a fundamental understanding of nature, the benefits of my education have been more practical. Group work is essential to efficient handling of the tasks. Strong planning, and excellent problem-solving skills are also a must, when tackling such a complicated experiment. Finally, with funding not always plentiful, one is forced to learn new techniques to make things work. At one point or another I have been involved with machining new parts, building simple electronics, and lots of computer programming. I have had to deal with ultra-high vacuum systems, laser systems, and other technologies needed to get the work done.

As I graduate in a few months, I hope to capitalize on this experience and bring it to use in an industrial setting or perhaps a government lab. My work with precision polarization measurements has intrigued me in the last few years, and ideally I would like to use and expand this knowledge. There are many settings I am sure my specific skills and broad optics knowledge will be quite useful, and I hope you will consider me for a position at your organization.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please contact me at to discuss my qualifications further.

Last Updated: February 12, 2006