Whistling atoms

In a dramatic confirmation of predictions made more than 30 years ago, UC Berkeley physicists have detected quantum vibrations-in this case a high-pitched whistle-in a superfluid. (A superfluid flows without friction at almost absolute 0 degrees.)

Confirmation of this fundamental prediction of quantum mechanics-the theory that describes atomic scale interactions-culminates more than 10 years of effort led by low temperature physicists James C. "Seamus" Davis and Richard E. Packard.

Over the past three decades, laboratories around the world have searched for the effect, but no conclusive evidence for it had been found.

"This has been a Holy Grail of physics," says Packard. "The discovery is fundamental to our understanding of superfluids and by analogy, of the phenomena we observe in superconductors."

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