Ted Kaufman - United States Senator for Delaware

In a floor speech honoring the nation's federal employees, Sen. Kaufman applauds Deborah Jin for her work at the JILA-National Institute of Standards and Technology

July 22, 2009

Mr. KAUFMAN. Mr. President, I have often spoken about the need to invest in technology and innovation. We cannot afford to fall behind in this area after leading the world in science research and discovery for half a century.

Since I began coming to the floor to talk about great Federal employees, I have honored individuals who have made significant contributions in the areas of engineering, medicine, defense, housing assistance, land conservation, and international aid. The list of fields benefiting from the work of our Federal employees is lengthy.

Another such area is physics. At a time when our planet faces resource scarcity and higher energy costs, the work of physicists at Federal research institutions remains an important investment in our future security and prosperity.

Dr. Deborah Jin is one of these outstanding Federal employees pioneering advances in the field of physics. She serves as a research team-leader at the JILA-National Institute of Standards and Technology joint institute in Boulder, CO.

Deborah's team created a new form of matter, a major discovery in the race toward superconductivity. Superconductivity, or using extremely low temperatures to move electrons through a magnetic field, can potentially lead to breakthroughs in energy efficiency and computing. Her work will likely improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people.

This achievement was far from easy. To create a new form of matter, Deborah and her team needed to get particles called fermions to join together in pairs. Unfortunately, fermions have a natural tendency to repel each other.

Deborah discovered that fermions will pair up when exposed to certain gasses at more than 450 degrees below zero.

This exciting advance takes us one giant step closer to understanding superconductivity. The uses of this technology could include faster computers and cell phones, smaller microchips and more efficient home appliances. Potentially, superconductivity could eliminate the ten percent of energy lost in transfer from power plants to homes and businesses.

Deborah and her colleagues exemplify the spirit of ingenuity and determination that has always characterized Americans working in scientific research. They had been racing against six other teams from laboratories around the world, and they were the first to reach this milestone.

It is unlikely that we will be able to appreciate the full extent of this breakthrough for many years, and future generations may not remember those who worked so hard to achieve it.

But, like all of those who work in public service, Deborah knows that she and her team have made a difference--that the impact of their findings will be felt in every subsequent discovery on the path to making superconductors a reality.

I call on my fellow Senators and on all Americans to join me in honoring the service of Dr. Deborah Jin, her colleagues at the joint institute in Boulder, and all Federal employees working on scientific research. They are the unsung heroes of America's global leadership in science and technology.

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