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Scientists Make New Form of Matter

While this story doesn't have much to do with health it is not every day that scientists create a new form of matter. This experiment was done with a half-million potassium atoms chilled to within a whisper of absolute zero, the coldest possible temperature. They call the new matter a "fermionic" gas. Fermions represent a class of elementary subatomic particles that includes electrons, and they are among the building blocks of atoms and molecules. According to a law of quantum mechanics, no two identical fermions may occupy the same quantum state. Industry probably won't have a practical use for fermionic gas for decades. Eventually it might help engineers achieve superconductivity, or the state in which electricity flows without resistance, at everyday temperatures. That would dramatically improve computers and electrical power generation, as well as systems like mag-lev trains.

USA Today January 29, 2004

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