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Nobel Prize In Physics For Bose-Einstein Condensate 201

LMCBoy writes "The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physics today. The award went to scientists who managed to construct a Bose-Einstein condensate from Rubidium and Sodium atoms. The process involves cooling the atoms to about 20 nanoKelvin. From the press release: 'A laser beam differs from the light from an ordinary light bulb in several ways. In the laser the light particles all have the same energy and oscillate together. To cause matter also to behave in this controlled way has long been a challenge for researchers. This year's Nobel Laureates have succeeded - they have caused atoms to "sing in unison" - thus discovering a new state of matter, the Bose-Einstein condensate.'" This is the same reasearch that Hemos recently posted about.
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Nobel Prize In Physics For Bose-Einstein Condensate

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  • by Macrobat ( 318224 ) on Tuesday October 09, 2001 @03:12PM (#2407480)
    I thought the big deal about Bose-Einstein condensates was their indeterminate size. Since cooling matter down to nearly absolute zero halts motion, and since zero motion is a very measurable quantity, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle means that the actual location of the electrons becomes indeterminate, and therefore the size of the atomic shell grows bigger. Not sure what implications this fact has, though, but it's kinda neat. If anything ever were to be cooled to absolute zero, it would be of infinite size.
  • by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Tuesday October 09, 2001 @03:24PM (#2407578)
    Bose-Einstein matter was predicted decades ago. But the experimental cleverness to reach absolute zero and this state was only reached a few years ago. The prize is for this cleverness.
    Second, not all othe the phenomena of this state were predicted by the theory, so new things were learned.
  • by pomakis ( 323200 ) <> on Tuesday October 09, 2001 @03:55PM (#2407768) Homepage
    Don't you find it a bit scary that during experiments like this, we're cooling matter to a temperature that's a billion times colder than the background ratiation of the universe (3K), creating, for a brief period of time, what is likely to be the coldest matter in the entire universe? Who knows what weird physics we could unintentionally unleash!
  • by muerte24 ( 178621 ) on Tuesday October 09, 2001 @04:36PM (#2407968)
    here at MIT BEC [], the webserver is a mid-power pentium that WAS runing win2k professional with IIS. but of course i get a call at 8:30 am (i'm a grad student i sleep late) with someone yelling "THE WEBSERVER ISN'T WORKING".

    that was because it was some dumbed down version of IIS that limited the connections to 10, and no one around here cares enough about windows to figure out the right registry settings (me neither).

    so instead of fixing it i downloaded apache and configged it in about 5 minutes. maybe less.

    since then it appears that web browsing has been a bit smoother. i checked the web log, which is normally about 200k on any given day, but by 4pm today is had grown to 17 MEGABYTES. ha! at it's peak we were serving around 10 megabytes per minute in pdfs, jpegs, etc. we have served 1.7 gigs so far today. whew.

    so now that it's fixed, come on in and check it out. go to ketterle, then research, and especially check out rubidium. :)

    and while i'm here, let me just say that wolfgang ketterle is one of the nicest people i have ever worked for. he, and everyone else here at MIT just kicks ass. wolfgang had gone to bed at 2:30am last night, and was awoken at 5:30am by some strange swedish dude...


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