News: Scientists at NASA have observed Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC) in for the first time in space offering unprecedented insight that could help solve some of the quantum universe’s most intractable conundrums.
- Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC): It is the fifth state of matter whose existence was predicted by Albert Einstein and Indian mathematician Satyendra Nath Bose in the early 1920s.
- Gases, liquids, solids and plasmas are the other four matters.
- How are they formed: They are formed when atoms of certain elements are cooled to near absolute zero (0 Kelvin/-273.15 Celsius).
- At this point, atoms become a single entity with quantum properties wherein each particle also functions as a wave of matter.
- Features: They are extremely fragile and slightest interaction with the external world warms them past their condensation threshold.This makes their study nearly impossible on Earth where gravity interferes with magnetic fields required to hold them in place for observation.
- Significance: Scientists believe BECs contain vital clues to mysterious phenomena such as dark energy — the unknown energy thought to be behind the Universe’s accelerating expansion.