View Full Version : Discussion: Coldest Temperature Ever Created

2003-Sep-15, 07:41 PM
SUMMARY: Researchers from NASA and MIT have cooled sodium gas to the lowest temperature ever recorded - one-half billionth degree above absolute zero. At absolute zero (-273 degrees Celsius), all molecular motion would stop completely since the cooling process has extracted all energy from the material. The gas needed to be confined in a magnetic field; otherwise it would stick to the walls of the container and be impossible to cool down. The researchers used a similar methodology that led to the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2001with the discovery of Bose-Einstein condesates (where the molecules move together in an orderly way at low temperatures).

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2003-Sep-15, 07:42 PM
I said "half billion degrees". 500 million degrees would be quite the accomplishment as well. That was supposed to be "one half-billionth of a degree". That's much less... and correct.

2003-Sep-16, 01:10 AM
It's been drilled into me/us that actually getting to absolute zero is impossible. We've heard that before, breaking the sound barrier was also impossible. I'd like to know if the people actually working in the field - like these people at NASA/MIT - think they can actually do it or are they trying to just get lower and lower and never really expect to get to the pot of gold. Thanks...

2003-Sep-16, 01:59 AM
I am glad to see you corrected "the lowest temperature ever recorded - one-half _billion_ degrees above absolute zero" -- what it said in the version of the article I got in my email to "the lowest temperature ever recorded - one-half _billionth_ degrees above absolute zero." There _are_ temperatures lower than 5 x 10^8 degrees K (or C, forget whcih it was). Other than that, fascinating article. Interesting to see more on this, especially for superconductor and other supercold applications. :D

2003-Sep-16, 03:48 AM
Hmmm... half a billion above Absolut Zero zounds pretty varm to me.

Iss dat Fahrenheitlich or Centipede? Should we wear shorts, or is this
EVENT a black tie affair?

Thanks for the frequently informative and sometimes humorous webzeit.

Doc Whom

2003-Sep-16, 09:14 PM
Hey, half a billion degrees would be a real accomplishment. ;-)

2003-Sep-16, 09:42 PM
Ok, I have a question. Why do we want to obtain absolute zero? Is there some special "widgit" that can be built, or are we attempting this (like Mt. Everest) just because it is there?


2003-Sep-18, 01:05 AM
I was wondering how these folks achieved this low temperature. I see that they used magnet fields to contain the gas but how did they actually remove the heat energy? My refrigerator does go that low.

2003-Sep-19, 01:48 AM
One thing-Absolute Zero is also 0 degrees Kelvin.
Have you ever seen dry ice, and how it mixes with water? If you put it in a bottle and mix with water, and then shake up, you can get a violent reaction. Maybe this could eventually be developed into a weapon, or, of "preserving" humans for extended space flight.

2004-Feb-04, 08:07 AM