SITE VISIT: Talking Condensates

Science  17 Jul 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5375, pp. 303
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5375.303b

After physicists rocked the world 3 years ago by coaxing supercold rubidium gas into a new form of matter, dozens of labs have sprung into hot pursuit of Bose-Einstein Condensation (BEC), a state in which individual atoms merge and act as a single giant atom. On the Web, the condensate community congregates at the BEC page hosted by Georgia Southern University in Statesboro.

As might be expected in a field that is, after all, only in its infancy, this site is a bit chaotic but buzzes with energy and fresh content. Webmaster Mark Edwards says the biggest draw is the condensate bibliography, which lists some 500 online papers, mostly posted at the Los Alamos e-prints server. There's a “popular page,” packed with BEC e-clippings from newspapers, magazine profiles of scientists, and other news, such as a write-up on a BEC paper currently topping the physics list for citations. The site also tracks conferences and talks, and links to researchers' Web pages. Perhaps best of all, the site features bulletins on major condensate results, which have been coming thick and fast—about once a month so far this year. The happy ending to a 20-year search for hydrogen BEC, for example, was reported here by MIT researchers on 24 June before it hit a scientific meeting (see this issue's News of the Week). “I have some pretty reliable sources who have their ears open,” Edwards says.

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