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Ebb and flow of superfluids: Bose-Einstein condensates far from equilibrium

Event Details

Event Dates: 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 4:00pm

Seminar Location: 

  • JILA Auditorium

Speaker Name(s): 

Matthew Davis

Speaker Affiliation(s): 

University of Queensland
Seminar Type/Subject

Scientific Seminar Type: 

  • JILA Colloquium

Event Details & Abstract: 

The methods of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics provide a powerful framework for understanding systems in equilibrium.  However, large parts of the natural world exist in states where there is a constant flux of matter and energy.  It is a grand challenge of physics to develop organising principles to better understand and tame nonequilibrium systems.

This talk will provide an overview of aspects of the nonequilibrium physics of superfluid Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs). These quantum gases can be exquisitely controlled by physicists in the laboratory, and provide an excellent model system in which to study nonequilbrium quantum phenomena.  Finally we will present a recent example where an initially turbulent two-dimensional BEC self-organises into two giant whirlpools.  We connect the dynamics to a famous model of two-dimensional point vortices, and explain the phenomenon in terms of the evaporative heating of quantum vortices.