What is a roton? The existence of rotons, the particle-like excitations that carry much of the thermal energy of superfluid helium-4, has been thoroughly substantiated through numerous experiments and much is known about their properties. Yet the physical nature of the roton remains almost as obscure as when its existence was first proposed by Landaul half a century ago. But a little progress is now being made towards a resolution of this question and it formed one of the main topics at a recent conference on quantum fluids.
Report on the NATO Advanced Research Workshop "Excitations in 20 and 3D Quantum Fluids", Exeter, 10-15 August 1990.