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The mini tornadoes that form in superfluids won’t send any cows flying through the air, but the scientists from Newcastle University behind a new study were surprised to see that these mini twisters can create quite a tangled storm. Their results suggest that superfluids have a deeper connection to everyday fluids than previously thought, and will soon be published in the American Physical Society’s journal Physical Review Letters.
In 1910, Rutherford (assisted by his student Hans Geiger, who would later invent the radiation detector that bears his name) fired ionized helium atoms, or alpha particles, at a sheet of gold foil. To Rutherford’s astonishment, some of the particles bounced back. It was as if, he said, he had fired a fifteen-inch shell at a sheet of paper and it rebounded into his lap. This was just not supposed to happen.