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Nice post! Glad you mentioned Bose-Einstein Condensates, but don't forget about the neutron-degenerate matter that comprises a neutron star. One could consider that yet another 'state' of matter; although as you point out, what we consider a distinct, unique state of matter is something of a fuzzy concept.

Great post. What's more is the distinction between liquid and solid states of matter can can get even more confusing (...or ambiguous ...or interesting , but ultimately illuminating...see below) depending on what variables you choose to describe a system with.

One might think that the superfluid you mention - a state of matter which can flow with no resistance - is just about the best most liquidy and least ambigous phase one can have. What could be more fluid than a SUPERfluid?

But superfluids, being coherent quantum mechanical states, can be described by a macroscopic quantum mechanical wave function. This 'wavefunction' is a mathematical quantity which essentially parametetrizes the particle density, but importantly it is a complex number, meaning that it has both an amplitude and phase. (note: different use of the word 'phase' here see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phase_%28waves%29)

In a superfluid each region in space has a well defined wavefunction phase value that has a well defined relationship to the phase value elsewhere. You may think that this sounds just like the situation in a crystal if you substitute "atom position" for "phase value" and indeed you'd be right. The correspondance is exact. The superfluid is a phase solid! When looked at using the phase degrees of freedom, the superfluid is a crystal!

This is not just some mathematical trickery, as describing the system in terms of phase variables is just as legit as describing in position variables. In fact, there is a deep physical priciple at play here called 'duality' that is related to the wave/particle duality of light and the uncertainty principle.

In the end, the concept of 'phases of matter' is not an ambigous one, but a powerful organizing principle. It allows one to make connections from one physical system to another superficially quite different physical system showing the underlying universality of much of the physics we study.

Excellent and illuminating input from both Mike and Peter. I confess I glossed over the superfluid stuff because, frankly, it makes my head hurt. :)

Regarding superfluids, BESs, and even the dense quark matter believed to comprise the cores of neutron stars: There was a press conference at the APS March meeting in Baltimore on a strange new form of superfluidity, in which two independent research groups in a lab created a superfluid of lithium atoms with unmatched spins. (For the non-physicists out there, in general each spin-up electron pairs with a spin-down electron. The cores of neutron stars may also have unmatched quarks.) You can read more about the experiment at:
http://www,aps.org/apsnews/0506/050609.cfm

Don't forget electrostrictive or ferrofluids. These are solid particles mixed with fluids which become 'solids' upon application of an magnetic or electric field. If the particles were capable - via nanotechnology - to generate their own fields, then the resultant 'solids' could be self directed... A critical detail of the T-1000 : when moving, even in solid form, there are no joints visible. This means the 'solid' of its body is flowing like a fluid at any point it needs to stretch or bend.
Convenient!

Maybe T1000 was made of some metal with its critical point at standard temperature and pressure? Or a metal whose state changed on application of an electrical current.

Nice post. Just continue posting. I relly like to discover new idea.

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    Physics Cocktails

    • Heavy G
      The perfect pick-me-up when gravity gets you down.
      2 oz Tequila
      2 oz Triple sec
      2 oz Rose's sweetened lime juice
      7-Up or Sprite
      Mix tequila, triple sec and lime juice in a shaker and pour into a margarita glass. (Salted rim and ice are optional.) Top off with 7-Up/Sprite and let the weight of the world lift off your shoulders.
    • Listening to the Drums of Feynman
      The perfect nightcap after a long day struggling with QED equations.
      1 oz dark rum
      1/2 oz light rum
      1 oz Tia Maria
      2 oz light cream
      Crushed ice
      1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
      In a shaker half-filled with ice, combine the dark and light rum, Tia Maria, and cream. Shake well. Strain into an old fashioned glass almost filled with crushed ice. Dust with the nutmeg, and serve. Bongos optional.
    • Combustible Edison
      Electrify your friends with amazing pyrotechnics!
      2 oz brandy
      1 oz Campari
      1 oz fresh lemon juice
      Combine Campari and lemon juice in shaker filled with cracked ice. Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Heat brandy in chafing dish, then ignite and pour into glass. Cocktail Go BOOM! Plus, Fire = Pretty!
    • Hiroshima Bomber
      Dr. Strangelove's drink of choice.
      3/4 Triple sec
      1/4 oz Bailey's Irish Cream
      2-3 drops Grenadine
      Fill shot glass 3/4 with Triple Sec. Layer Bailey's on top. Drop Grenadine in center of shot; it should billow up like a mushroom cloud. Remember to "duck and cover."
    • Mad Scientist
      Any mad scientist will tell you that flames make drinking more fun. What good is science if no one gets hurt?
      1 oz Midori melon liqueur
      1-1/2 oz sour mix
      1 splash soda water
      151 proof rum
      Mix melon liqueur, sour mix and soda water with ice in shaker. Shake and strain into martini glass. Top with rum and ignite. Try to take over the world.
    • Laser Beam
      Warning: may result in amplified stimulated emission.
      1 oz Southern Comfort
      1/2 oz Amaretto
      1/2 oz sloe gin
      1/2 oz vodka
      1/2 oz Triple sec
      7 oz orange juice
      Combine all liquor in a full glass of ice. Shake well. Garnish with orange and cherry. Serve to attractive target of choice.
    • Quantum Theory
      Guaranteed to collapse your wave function:
      3/4 oz Rum
      1/2 oz Strega
      1/4 oz Grand Marnier
      2 oz Pineapple juice
      Fill with Sweet and sour
      Pour rum, strega and Grand Marnier into a collins glass. Add pineapple and fill with sweet and sour. Sip until all the day's super-positioned states disappear.
    • The Black Hole
      So called because after one of these, you have already passed the event horizon of inebriation.
      1 oz. Kahlua
      1 oz. vodka
      .5 oz. Cointreau or Triple Sec
      .5 oz. dark rum
      .5 oz. Amaretto
      Pour into an old-fashioned glass over (scant) ice. Stir gently. Watch time slow.