Vortices get organized: Skyrmions are formed on some surfaces when the spins of the electrons—think of an arrow about which each electron rotates—collectively arrange such that they wrap around the surface of a sphere (Fig. 1). This pattern spirals in such a way that the spins on the outside point up whereas those at the core point down. This collection of spins can display many properties associated with a single particle. “A skyrmion crystal is the periodic array of these particle-like entities,” explains Tokura.