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Jupiter's Great Red Spot may get its colour from an unexpected quantum effect – one that we could use to generate power from clouds here on Earth

Forty years ago, in what was then the Soviet Union, physicist Mark Perel'man had an outlandish thought. It took him a further seven years to show that his thought might have substance, and 30 or so more years to be taken seriously. The problem for Perel'man was that his idea overturned the established view of a familiar physical process, one that occurs every time a gas condenses into a liquid or a liquid freezes solid.

It might sound esoteric, yet if Perel'man's theory is correct it will have far-reaching consequences. It could transform the way we manufacture materials such as metals, help explain why Jupiter's Great Red Spot is red, and provide the basis of an early-warning system for storms and tornadoes on Earth. It might even unlock an untapped source of renewable energy hidden in the sky.

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Category: Science