September 18, 2023

Q&A with Ben Olsen, Assistant Professor of Physics

Assistant Professor of Physics Ben Olsen’s research examines exotic quantum phases using gasses of ultracold atomic lithium in order to study their dynamical behavior.

When and how did you develop an interest in your field?

As a kid, I read a bunch of popular science books by Stephen Hawking and Brian Greene, and had a vague idea that physics was pretty cool. Once I took my first physics class in high school, I was thoroughly hooked. I spent the next couple of years trying to decide between majoring in physics or engineering, but after my first summer research project in a lab, I knew physics was it for me. I’ve been lurking in the lab ever since.

What excites you most about joining the L&C community?

To me, the most exciting thing about joining L&C are the students. I’m really looking forward to working with talented, curious young people, and training them to be great scientists or great scientific thinkers. I want everyone to know how interesting and useful physics can be, no matter their major.

What kind of hobbies or special activities do you enjoy outside of work?

I guess I’m a bit of a gamer—video games, board games, card games—I enjoy all of them! I also like to take photos, and recently got a drone (I’ve only crashed it once so far). My favorite sport to play is water polo, and I’m still looking for a team in Portland to play with. I also generally enjoy being outdoors: hiking, rafting, snowboarding, kayaking… maybe even surfing one day.