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A step closer to understanding Big Bang?

world Updated: Oct 17, 2008 16:59 IST

Scientists have made a world first physics discovery which they claim could help to explain how the Big Bang created the Universe.

An international team, led by Queensland University in Australia, has determined how Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) form -- a breakthrough that is considered to be a step closer to understanding Big Bang, the 'Nature' journal reported.

A Bose-Einstein condensate is a state of matter formed at ultra-cold temperatures, where atoms behave like waves. It was first predicted by Prof Albert Einstein in 1924 and Indian physicist JC Bose actually used the theory to explain certain behaviours of light.

Though its practical implications are still not fully appreciated, the development of "atom lasers" may advance the production of nanotechnology and it may also have applications for super-powerful "quantum computers", according to the team.

For years, physicists have speculated about the possibility of vortices being created as a BEC is born. Now, the scientists have been able to show vortices spontaneously appear between 25 to 50 per cent of the time.

"We know that the vortices are a consequence of critical fluctuations occurring as the gas cools, becoming a superfluid Bose-Einstein condensate.

"It's something people have been trying to understand for a long time. This is the first time that anyone has seen vortices forming spontaneously during the birth of a BEC," the team leader, Dr Ashton Bradley, said.