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(a) In a donut, shaped, or “toroidal” trap, atoms mostly exist in a red ring and do not reside in the center (blue region), which represents an energy hill they cannot climb. (b) Image of a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) in the donut trap. (c) When there is no fluid flow around the donut and the trap is turned off, atoms (red) rush to the center. (d) When fluid flows around the donut and the trap is turned off, the current around the donut persists and does not rush to fill the hole.  (Source: NIST)
"Practical" applications still years away for perpetual motion

The National Institute of Standards and Technology, in conjunction with the University of Maryland's Joint Quantum Institute, created a short-lived "proof of concept" of perpetual motion. Using an exotic type of matter known as a Bose Einstein condensate, or BEC, the team demonstrated true perpetual motion.  Though the state persisted only ten seconds, team members say it will one day lead to real-world applications.

The so-called "fifth state of matter," Bose Einstein condensates were predicted as early as 1925, but it took 70 years to demonstrate them in a laboratory setting. They form when matter is cooled to the point that the atoms collapse to the lowest energy state, allowing quantum effects to manifest on a macroscopic scale. BECs, also known as "superfluids," have a number of strange properties, such as a total lack of any form of friction and the ability to spontaneously flow out of an open container.

Usually barred by the laws of thermodynamics, perpetual motion is possible at the macroscopic level when friction is completely eliminated -- the state one finds in a BEC. The NIST demonstration used laser-cooled sodium atoms flowing within a torus to demonstrate the superfluid state. So far, their longest attempt persisted for only ten seconds; the team is attempting to lengthen the period in a future prototype.

While ten seconds of perpetual motion may not be terribly impressive to the layman, NIST officials say it may one day lead to novel applications, such as lossless energy storage, ultra-sensitive navigation sensors, and others.

Earlier this year, a team of physicists at Harvard used a BEC to directly convert energy and matter into each other.

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what about this part
By HighWing on 12/3/2007 12:59:23 PM , Rating: 2
Am I the only one who noticed this part:
Earlier this year, a team of physicists at Harvard used a BEC to directly convert energy and matter into each other.

If I'm not mistaken isn't that the groundwork for making teleportation devices such as those in Star Trek?

RE: what about this part
By Masterrer on 12/3/2007 3:00:59 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, and probably another billion uses man can think off...

A link to more info on this would be nice, but I'm to lazy to google it myself :]

RE: what about this part
By Basilisk on 12/3/2007 3:14:23 PM , Rating: 5
You lack the energy, so it doesn't matter. Sounds like your basic conservation-laws being demonstrated.... :)

RE: what about this part
By Ringold on 12/3/2007 3:42:32 PM , Rating: 4
We require Heisenburg compensators, for one.

Two, energy->matter is one thing, but moving a replica from one location to another seems.. more fantastical then that.

Unless you just want to create an exact replica, in which case, I guess you still need the compensator, but then what happens to the original? I guess the moral thing to do would be to kill it, but.. that sucks for one of you!

RE: what about this part
By Ringold on 12/3/2007 3:43:31 PM , Rating: 2
but moving a replica from one location to another seems.. more fantastical then that.

I was thinking ahead of myself; meant to say "moving an object"

RE: what about this part
By Hawkido on 12/3/07, Rating: -1
RE: what about this part
By logaldinho on 12/3/2007 4:30:43 PM , Rating: 2
i thought the premise of the prestige was revenge.

RE: what about this part
By Hawkido on 12/4/2007 9:31:06 AM , Rating: 1
There have been hundreds of movies about revenge... How many of them are about revenge by creating copies of yourself then killing the original to maintain the image that your compititor killed you.

But yeah, I guess the fact that it is a story about revenge is what makes this story really unique... I mean that have never happened in literature before...

RE: what about this part
By oTAL on 12/7/2007 12:03:56 PM , Rating: 2
You really need a spoiler alert on a comment like that.
That's like saying that a struggle between father and son is the premise for The Empire Strikes Back.
Besides making little sense and it would ruin the experience for that one person who reads DT and never saw Star Wars.

RE: what about this part
By aharris on 1/2/2008 4:14:05 PM , Rating: 2
...for that one person who reads DT and never saw Star Wars.


That's gonna have me laughing the rest of the day.

RE: what about this part
By Fritzr on 12/4/2007 10:52:02 PM , Rating: 2
Was covered in a couple of SciFan books. You go to the Transmat, get copied and then return home/leave the transmat receiver in another star system.

Complications arise when replicas start marrying ... who's married to who ... is your wife who just transported in single or married & if married, to who?

People can volunteer for suicide missions then get on with their lives afterward :P

The books in which "tachyonic replication" is used are: Farthest Star & Wall Around a Star by Frederick Pohl & Jack Williamson

RE: what about this part
By shamgar03 on 12/3/2007 3:58:14 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah they seem to just brush past that. Of course to create a human from energy you would have to have the energy equivalent of like 1000 H bombs. E = MC^2 so thats
(80KG)*(8.98755179 × 10^16 m^2 / s^2) = .... a lot of freaken energy.

RE: what about this part
By GaryJohnson on 12/4/2007 1:30:38 AM , Rating: 2
If you could do energy to matter you could likely also do matter to energy and get the juice you need from any 80kg chunk of matter right?

And if you could do those things, you might also be capable of reorganizing the particles of the 80kg chunk of matter into an exact duplicate of the 80kg person.

RE: what about this part
By Suomynona on 12/4/2007 10:02:10 PM , Rating: 2
Read an earlier comment about Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Basically it says you WILL have a loss when you translate matter -> energy (because at the very least you will lose the data about the matter you're converting).
Whether or not that will matter for teleportation is another matter, though..

RE: what about this part
By Sahrin on 12/5/2007 9:08:09 PM , Rating: 2
So use the person being transported as the energy source; it functions as a transporter AND a weight loss device. Fortune 500 anyone?

Science non-Fiction
By djc208 on 12/3/2007 11:39:59 AM , Rating: 2
You have to love it when science fiction becomes science non-fiction. Sure there probably won't be any practical application in my lifetime but just the sheer weight of making the impossible possible is about as cool as it gets.

Stuff like this reminds me why I went into engineering.

RE: Science non-Fiction
By KristopherKubicki on 12/3/2007 11:44:00 AM , Rating: 2
The most ironic thing about this amazing breakthrough is that the topic was almost completely ignored for the last week or so after NIST published the release. I bet it gets a little more attention now though :)

RE: Science non-Fiction
By Ringold on 12/3/2007 3:37:39 PM , Rating: 2
People wonder why kids don't aspire to be engineers! When the news talking heads are all going on about perhaps Britney Spears being pregnant again, instead of covering cool stuff like this, well of course it's hard to attract them to a field seen by an otherwise apathetic student as several long years of calculus, trig, or whatever else.

I know there's some serious things going on around the world that deserve mention, like Chavez losing the election in terms of the constitutional reform, and Putin's party sweeping up. One can't force a free press to do anything, but I think something like this at least deserves a blurb in the evening news. Much more relevant to humanity than the latest pregnancy, but it's less exciting, so.. there you go.

RE: Science non-Fiction
By Treckin on 12/3/2007 6:53:28 PM , Rating: 2
You are misidentifying the problem here. It may sound 'chicken/egg' but its not; the problem is not that the news plays clips of Britney and such does not make it their fault. The News agencies simply sell what sells. If your damn kids didn't want to see things like that, the News would play something different. Its the simple fact the kids are not intrigued by things like this that make the new show mindless fluff.
While it may be a negative feedback loop, it starts with the children, and that starts with the parents. Adults are too busy to engender much interest in anything in their kids, and so we end up with a society of children raised by their friends and the internet.

The simple solution here is not drastic political earthquakes and news media reform, but simple parenting lessons all around.

RE: Science non-Fiction
By Ringold on 12/3/2007 10:54:53 PM , Rating: 2
I covered myself as far as the news agencies just showing what sells, and I agree with the rest. It starts with the parents.

Though I would say it wouldn't have to be a drastic political earthquake, but it sure seems like it'd be a strong social earthquake. We've gone from using spawns as manual farm labor with little regard for much else, to focusing as much energy as possible on them, and now gone back to letting government schools, day cares and after-school programs take them off our hands.

RE: Science non-Fiction
By masher2 on 12/4/2007 9:59:17 AM , Rating: 3
It may sound 'chicken/egg' but its not; the problem is not that the news plays clips of Britney and such does not make it their fault. The News agencies simply sell what sells.
And people buy what they're told is cool. It's a similar princiiple to feeding an infant broccoli and carrots....they'll adapt to the taste and prefer vegetables when they're older. When you flood the media with nothing but adulating images of tawdry starlets, you build a taste for that product. When every children's TV show portrays scientists as socially-incompetent physically-unattractive nerds, do you really expect kids to gravitate to those professions?

Take a look at Russia (prior to the collapse, at least), where state-controlled media refused to follow the Western lead, and instead chose to portray different role models. Their per-capita proportion of scientists and engineers was over double that of the US's. Do you really believe that was wholly by accident?

And no, I'm not advocating state control of media. But to suggest our own media doesn't feed the problem flies in the face of reality.

RE: Science non-Fiction
By SkyBum on 12/3/2007 11:49:06 PM , Rating: 2
In regards to your first paragraph, I had to reply because only moments ago on another thread I was once again amazed by the fact that in response to a very well written response reaching 10 paragraphs or so the only responses were "OMGZORZ attack of the wall of text" and "no way in hell I am reading that" "dont write so much" etc.

It's a bit alarming to me to see SO many people put off by the sheer complexity and effort of reading a gargantuan mammoth epic of 10 entire paragraphs when they could so easily garner the "same information" from a 10 sec sound bite or a snippet of text.

I get on my knees and thank Dog every daily(tech) that there are still so many people who are not intimidated by a bit of reading.....

For the most part, I continually find the bulk of this group of people here to be amazing in the knowledge and effort they represent.

RE: Science non-Fiction
By Armorize on 12/3/2007 7:41:13 PM , Rating: 2
Well with no offense to DT, most news thats on television is negative, positive news "isn't news" anymore. the only positive news you'll find is online. Along with this story I can imagine that there are a lot of other good science related stories that go unnoticed. Mostly because NIST,MIT (not as much), NMERI, and other research complexes aren't on a lot of favorites lists on peoples browsers.

By kattanna on 12/3/07, Rating: 0
RE: perpetual???
By Yaos on 12/3/2007 11:38:13 AM , Rating: 5
They mean it lost no energy during those 10 seconds.

RE: perpetual???
By JonnyDough on 12/3/07, Rating: -1
RE: perpetual???
By geddarkstorm on 12/3/2007 12:06:05 PM , Rating: 2
The 10 seconds were how long they could keep the matter in the BEC state needed for perpetual motion; after that the super fluid form broke down from what I gather. But as long as you keep it in BEC form, perpetual motion is a reality.

RE: perpetual???
By Hawkido on 12/3/2007 4:05:24 PM , Rating: 3
since when did perpetual come to mean a mere 10 seconds?

OMG! I can now have sex in perpetuity!!!! I am a MACHINE!!!

RE: perpetual???
By Treckin on 12/3/2007 6:45:44 PM , Rating: 1
Lol beat me too it. I was going to say something like:
Well, Im sure you've convinces your wife that 1- seconds is forever anyhow...


I need one of these!
By svenkesd on 12/3/2007 12:06:23 PM , Rating: 5
An ultra-sensitive nagivation sensor should be able to detect my wife from at least a mile away.

RE: I need one of these!
By FITCamaro on 12/3/2007 12:17:48 PM , Rating: 4
ROFL! Give this man a 6.

By 3kliksphilip on 12/3/2007 12:30:25 PM , Rating: 2
Is this meant to be navigation, or is it actually a word? It comes up with over 500,000 searches in google...

RE: nagivation?
By murphyslabrat on 12/3/2007 12:45:05 PM , Rating: 2
I just googled it...apparently, a lot of people get their 'v's and 'g's mixed up....

RE: nagivation?
By restcure on 12/4/2007 7:28:08 AM , Rating: 2
You wouldn't make that mistake if your keyboard had a Dgorac layout

RE: nagivation?
By restcure on 12/4/2007 7:35:35 AM , Rating: 2
messed that up - try again - "mkstaie" and "Dvorai" - oh, never mind.

As i've seen quoted:
By Sunbird on 12/3/2007 12:01:20 PM , Rating: 5
"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" - Homer Simpson :P

RE: As i've seen quoted:
By Harkonnen on 12/3/2007 5:30:22 PM , Rating: 2
"Homer your idea of a donut shaped universe intrigues me, I may have to steal it"

The same?
By KingstonU on 12/3/2007 12:20:02 PM , Rating: 2
I've learned about supercritical fluids , are super fluids the same thing?

Supercritical fluid is a state at very high temperatures and pressures where mater is neither liquid nor gaseous, but something that is similar to both.

RE: The same?
By KristopherKubicki on 12/3/2007 12:24:06 PM , Rating: 3
RE: The same?
By Treckin on 12/3/2007 6:56:11 PM , Rating: 1
Super Critical Fluids are what you described

Simplest explanation for super-fluids is think Super-Magnets...

Means resistance free.

Basically... Least amount of writing on my PDA

How the lasers work
By kileil on 12/3/2007 11:38:08 AM , Rating: 3
This article gives more info on the creation of BEC's:

Its not how one typically thinks of cooling an item. Essentially, they use lasers to hold a cluster of atoms almost perfectly still and since movement has nearly stopped, the item is kept at just above absolute zero.

Pretty interesting stuff really, makes the world seem a bit more mysterious.

RE: How the lasers work
By Polynikes on 12/3/2007 12:56:53 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, the first thing I thought when I saw "laser-cooled" was "Uh... What?" That's pretty neat.

anyone else?
By Souka on 12/3/2007 11:38:34 AM , Rating: 3
Did anyone else laugh a bit at the title? "NIST Creates Perpetual Motion ... But Only for 10 Seconds"

Perpetual motion...lasts 10 seconds... uhm...wait a min.

Yea yeah, I understand the article and why it was 10sec, but just the title made me chuckle a bit, that's all

RE: anyone else?
By AvidDailyTechie on 12/3/2007 1:38:47 PM , Rating: 2
Yea, they really meant to say, NIST Creates Frictionless Environment

perpetual motion at what cost?
By Suomynona on 12/3/2007 1:23:13 PM , Rating: 2
They aren't really preserving energy when you take into account how much energy it takes to keep sodium at near Kelvin temperatures.

RE: perpetual motion at what cost?
By Goty on 12/3/2007 1:42:27 PM , Rating: 2
I'm assuming that the sodium atoms stayed in a superfluid state for roughly 10 seconds after the laser trap was turned off. In that case, there would be no outside influence other than environmental factors (negligible in the kind of isolation they have these samples in) that would affect the sample.

By Haltech on 12/3/2007 8:14:25 PM , Rating: 2
and the ability to spontaneously flow out of an open container.

Does this mean it dosn't follow the rules of gravity or just because its mass is so low that it dosnt matter? My brain hurts.

RE: Gravity
By Fritzr on 12/4/2007 10:56:20 PM , Rating: 2
Neither one ... a slosh against the side continues to move up until friction or gravity stops friction. result is that random vibrations will cause the liquid to fall up.

By Haltech on 12/3/2007 8:14:22 PM , Rating: 2
and the ability to spontaneously flow out of an open container.

Does this mean it dosn't follow the rules of gravity or just because its mass is so low that it dosnt matter? My brain hurts.

Did anyone else notice...?
By Goty on 12/4/2007 1:27:02 AM , Rating: 2
Did anyone else notice that the term "perpetual motion" was not mentioned once in the original article? It was neither stated nor implied.

Persistent flow is NOT perpetual motion, not to mention the fact that perpetual motion is precluded by the second law of thermodynamics, regardless of the state of matter.

eat your heart out bill nye
By scottymyboy on 12/3/07, Rating: -1
RE: eat your heart out bill nye
By boredg on 12/3/2007 11:33:11 AM , Rating: 3
Earlier this year, a team of physicists at Harvard used a BEC to directly convert energy and matter into each other.

Supreme Commander anybody?

RE: eat your heart out bill nye
By Etsp on 12/3/2007 11:45:43 AM , Rating: 2
in SupCom it only goes one way, from energy to matter, sadly, there is no means of going the other way around =(.

RE: eat your heart out bill nye
By iFX on 12/3/2007 12:01:22 PM , Rating: 1
When your commander goes and gets destroyed units, rocks or trees it's going from matter to energy. When you create a new unit it's going from energy to matter.

RE: eat your heart out bill nye
By Etsp on 12/3/2007 12:53:23 PM , Rating: 2
No, it goes from Mass to mass when you reclaim rocks or units, trees are being reclaimed for their um..."ethanol".

RE: eat your heart out bill nye
By MrBungle123 on 12/3/2007 1:03:22 PM , Rating: 2
Even if you could why would you? It seems like you can never have enough mass in that game.

RE: eat your heart out bill nye
By iFX on 12/3/2007 11:58:21 AM , Rating: 1
Big deal, I can do that by burning a pile of sticks...

RE: eat your heart out bill nye
By Adonlude on 12/4/2007 1:32:14 PM , Rating: 2
You guys don't understand the basics. When you burn something you are releasing the small amount of energy that bonds its molecules together, no mass is being converted to energy. Even in nuclear fission/fusion you are releasing the huge amounts of energy that bond nuclei together, no mass is being converted to energy (I think. I only took basic college chemistry and physics as an Electrical Engineer). These are merely exothermic chemical and nuclear reactions, not matter conversion.

By littlebitstrouds on 12/3/07, Rating: -1
"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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