Dr Amruta Gadge, an Indian physicist working in the UK, has redefined working from home during the coronavirus lockdown, while also making a major breakthrough in science. She has successfully created the “fifth state of matter” – formally known as the Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC) – remotely from her living room, two miles away from her laboratory.
The fifth state of matter – the other four being solid, liquid, gas, and plasma – is produced when a group of atoms is cooled to the point that they cluster together and behave as one entity.
A researcher at University of Sussex, Gadge used her computer at home to create BEC.
This is reportedly the first instance of BEC being created remotely in an environment where it didn’t previously exist.
This Could Have Revolutionary Implications For Science
The BEC was predicted in 1924 by Albert Einstein and Satyendra Nath Bose. Scientists have been studying BEC for decades, but its application has mostly been hypothetical. It’s incredibly exciting to see the theoretical prediction being increasingly executed and proven.
However, this is not the first incident of the fifth state of matter being created. The first instance of it being accomplished was over 20 years ago in 1995, in a laboratory.
Gadge’s success lies in having achieved the creation of BEC remotely. It has path-breaking implications for scientific experimentations in the future.
It opens up the possibilities of operating quantum technology and running experiments in inaccessible places like underground, in space, in submarines, or in extreme climates.
Gadge being able to generate BEC with remote supervision and tools is a blueprint that can be referred to for future experiments that can be conducted remotely.
For example, prepared experiments could be sent on unmanned spacecrafts, and controlled remotely from Earth. Any experiment could be sent by researchers, on journeys that don’t have experts or professionals on board. When handled with the right care, their work can be preserved during the transit, delivered securely, and controlled remotely.
Gadge Asserts That Everyone Has A Right To Be In The Field They Choose
Gadge admits that the process was not an easy one. Given how sensitive the experiment was, the process required extreme focus and patience.
“I spent many hours optimising and running the cooling sequence before the BEC happened. It was a laborious effort but one that was completely worth it. I just wish I wasn’t locked down at home so I had someone to enjoy it with. Of course, the team met over Zoom to celebrate!” she says.
She credits her mother, a physics teacher, for always encouraging and inspiring her to take up challenges and push boundaries.
Gadge is aware of the gender ratio disparity in STEM fields. She is a firm believer that everyone should have access to their passions, and refuses to let gendered beliefs suppress her thirst for discovery.
Her message to other young women with a vision to enter this field – “Keep asking questions and never let your thirst for discovery be curbed. Always believe in yourself. You have the same right as anyone else to be there in the arena you choose!”
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