STEM@Home: Supercool Dr. Deborah Jin

Dr. Deborah Jin. National Institute of Standards and Technology, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Do you have your mother’s smile? What about your uncle’s bushy eyebrows? Some families pass down distinctive facial features, a knack for wise-cracking, or impressive singing skills. But Deborah Jin’s family was full of physics nuts – father, mother and brother! She lost no time in adding her stamp to the family passion, winning prizes for her undergraduate research in experimental physics.

You might be familiar with the “Newton’s Laws” kind of physics – the normal behavior of matter, known as mechanics. Ever knocked two marbles together and noticed how they both get knocked into different directions? That’s mechanics! But Deborah Jin was fascinated by quantum physics – how matter behaves at the atomic and subatomic scale.

Over the next few decades, Dr. Jin mastered superconductors, created ultra cold fermion gases in the lab, and developed a new field of ultra cold quantum chemistry. She died of cancer in 2016 at only 47, but accomplished an incredible amount in her lifetime, not only as a scientist but as a mentor and advisor to other women scientists. Dr. Jin is also remembered for her focus on collaboration between different physics fields.

Learn more about Dr. Jin at – and then follow in her footsteps! Dr. Jin’s first major achievement was supercooling fermion gas. Conduct your own experiments with supercooled materials using items you probably already have around your house!

Supercooled Water Materials:

  • Bowl
  • Distilled water
  • Ice
  • Salt
  • Thermometer that can read between 20 and 40 degrees F
  • Plastic cup
  • Dusty rag

Now, head over to to make your own supercooled water. Then watch Steve Spangler Science use supercooled water to make instant ice!

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