Quantum fluids may mix in very weird ways, according to new computer simulations of exotic states of matter known as Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs).

Far in the future, BECs may enable new kinds of ultra-fast computers. But for now, researchers are just trying to understand the basic physics of how they work.

That’s what an Ohio State University visiting scholar in the Department of Physics, Kui-Tian Xi, and his colleagues were doing when they used a supercomputer to simulate what would happen if someone mixed two magnetically polarized BECs.

Snapshots from the simulations, published in the journal Physical Review A, resemble ink blot tests that can be interpreted in any number of ways. As one fluid percolated up through the other, Xi first saw the blobs form a turtle (that is, a pattern with six finger-like shapes that looked like a head, tail and four legs, similar to a turtle), then a frog (back legs akimbo) and finally an explosion of mushroom shapes.

It might not have been exactly what he expected, but Xi said he wasn’t all that surprised, either.

Hardly surprising. To read more, click here.