Monday, January 30, 2012

Absolute zero

The rapid expansion of gases leaving the Boomerang Nebula 
causes the lowest observed temperature outside a laboratory.

As far as I know, nobody has reached 0 K, the Absolute Zero (no, not a Swedish drink).

I asked the scientists and they agreed - Pat Rowe saying that it is only a theoretical temperature that cannot be reached in real life.

Wikipedia explains:
Absolute zero is the theoretical temperature at which entropy reaches its minimum value. The laws of thermodynamics state that absolute zero cannot be reached using only thermodynamic means. A system at absolute zero still possesses quantum mechanical zero-point energy, the energy of its ground state. The kinetic energy of the ground state cannot be removed. However, in the classical interpretation it is zero and the thermal energy of matter vanishes.

The current world record was set in 1999 at 100 picokelvins (pK), or 0.000 000 000 1 of a Kelvin, by cooling the nuclear spins in a piece of rhodium metal.

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