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LETTERS TO THE EDITORS

Guiding Light

To the Editors:

In "Optically Trapped Fermi Gases" (May–June), authors John Thomas and Michael Gehm describe how the electric field gradient of a light beam causes the attraction of a neutral atom. An everyday example of that principle is a charged comb attracting a neutral piece of tissue paper. It's a magical feat I find akin to picking oneself up by the bootstraps. Maybe if there were also a repulsive gravitational force, we could pick ourselves up in the gravitational field gradient of the Earth.

George Prans
Manhattan College
Bronx, New York


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