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B E C: The New Phase Of Matter

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184 words
Science & Nature

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A new phase of matter has been discovered seventy years after Albert
Einstein predicted it's existence. In this new state of matter, atoms do not
move around like they would in an ordinary gas condensate. The atoms move in
lock step with one another and have identical quantum properties. This will
make it easier for physicists to research the mysterious properties of quantum
mechanics. It was named "Molecule of the Year" because it was such a major
discovery, but it is not a molecule at all. The phase, called the Bose-Einstein
condensate (BEC) follows the laws of quantum physics.
In early 1995, scientists at the National Institute of Standards and
Technology and the University of Colorado were the first to uncover the BEC.
They magnetically trapped rubidium atoms and then supercooled the atoms to
almost absolute zero. The graphic on the cover shows the Bose-Einstien
condensation, where the atom's velocities peak at close to zero velocity, and
the atoms slowly emerge from the condensate. The atoms were slowed to the low

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