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Parables from Science

The “Super” Phase of Matter

Most people are familiar with the three phases of matter that we learn about in elementary school, solids, liquids, and gases.  It is not as well known that there are two more phases of matter.  They are the plasma phase and the condensed phase.  We tend to call the condensed phase “super.”  When it occurs in a solid, it is called a superconductor.  When it occurs in a liquid, it is called a superfluid.  In a gas, it is called a BEC.

The condensed phase of matter is a quantum physical effect.  A condensate is large enough to see with the naked eye.  So, it allows us to see the quantum behavior of things that are too small to see in a larger material that we can see.  Thus, a condensate allows us to see all the weird quantum physical phenomena with our own eyes. That is why superconductors, superfluids, and BECs behave so differently from normal phases of matter.

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Resonance is a scientific concept that applies to both the macroscopic world (things you can see) and the microscopic world (things you can’t see).  It is a principle that allows us to get a lot of effect out with just a little bit of effort put in.  Who doesn't want that?  It works for any kind of wave or oscillation, like sound or light or any other kind of regular movement.  We say phrases like "that resonates with me."  But, what does that mean exactly?

Resonance is easy and restful.  Without resonance, we can work ourselves to death and barely get any results.  But, when we take advantage of resonance, putting in a small effort with rest in between creates a big movement in the right direction.

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