Superfluidity

1937

Superfluidity

The book of science

Tom Sharp

Pyotr Kapitsa, John F. Allen, Don Misener physics

Superfluidity

Second sound

Rollin film

The mind

The history of the discovery of superfluidity in helium has two parts. First, the discovery of superfluidity in liquid helium-4 (a Bose–Einstein condensate) in 1937 by Pyotr Kapitsa, John F. Allen, and Don Misener. Second, the discovery of superfluidity in helium-3 in the 1970s by David Lee, Douglas Osheroff, and Robert Richardson. Unlike helium-4 atoms, which are bosons, helium-3 atoms are fermions, so the explanation for its superfluidity is completely different.

Bosons have an even number of nucleons; fermions have an odd number. For a fermion to become superconducting, each atom must pair up with another, resulting in an even number of nucleons.

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