12 February 2008

Bose-Einstein Condensate

So on Saturday Micky and I made the trek out to TRIUMF for one of the Saturday morning lectures, titled "Bose-Einstein condensation; quantum weirdness at the lowest temperature in the universe".

One word - awesome!

Photo from the BEC website

Carl Wieman and Eric Cornell synthesized the first Bose-Einstein Condensate in 1995. The idea that such a thing could exist arose in the early 1920s but was not produced until the 90s.

Two main things I took from the lecture:
1) Even just the idea of cooling something to 0.000000170 K is wicked cool
2) It basically changed how I perceive quantum mechanics. Pre-lecture, I just kind of though of QM as something miniscule that was nifty to study but difficult to conceptualize. Condensates are something you can actually see and understanding QM better in this way is pretty amazing.

Post-lecture, I immediately facebooked a friend to be like, "THE COLDEST MATTER WE KNOW OF EXISTS IN YOUR HOMETOWN! OMG" to which he responded, "Oh yeah, CU Physics tends to do stuff like that." Well, I still think it's awesome.

Anyway, I'm not really going to try to explain this here when you can check out the BEC website here.

Three things I think you should do:
-Check out the BEC website
-Play with PhET simulations (SO COOL!)
-Vote in the VP Admin elections

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