Rotating the Irrotatable: Quantized Vortices in a Super-Gas

Eric Cornell


The ultra-cold atomic gas of a Bose-Einstein condensate is reluctant to rotate -- it would prefer to remain at rest even when it
is immersed in a rotating environment. Sometimes, however, nature simply insists, and the result is the spawning of quantum
vortices, tiny tornado-like objects that wend and wind their way through the sample. Stir a condensate hard enough, and you get
dozens or hundreds of these little whirlstorms, and they start to interact with one another, forming intricate patterns.

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