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Beyond ‘absolute zero’ temperatures get hotter

Posted by Flora Malein

It sounds like a contradiction in terms but scientists have reached temperatures that go beyond absolute zero in a lab, and get hotter as they do so.

Whereas we’re all aware of what happens when temperatures hit negative temperatures on the Fahrenheit and Celsius scales (hint: it gets really cold), the Kelvin scale is an absolute temperature scale in physics where it is not possible to go beyond 0 degrees Kelvin. Therefore, the lowest point that any temperature can reach is 0 K or −460 °F (−273.15 °C); at least that’s what scientists thought until till now.

When they cooled an atomic gas to extreme lows, known as ‘ultracooling’, physicists at the Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Germany created a gas that went beyond absolute zero.

They found that the atoms in the ultracooled gas attract each other and give rise to a negative pressure. Instead of standing still when they go beyond 0 K, the gas becomes hotter.

“The gas is not colder than zero kelvin, but hotter,” says physicist Ulrich Schneider, lead author on the paper that is published in the journal Science.

“It is even hotter than at any positive temperature.”

Read full article.

Phi Beta Iota:  Our existing national education, intelligence, and research capabilities are so badly mis-directed that they achieve less than 20% of their potential, and in many cases less than 5% of their potential.  What we do not know because of our failure to be serious about education, intelligence, and research is just now coming into view.  The above is an extremely important milestone in our advancement.  The scandal of the first quarter century is going to be the public discovery of all of the technologies that were discovered and then repressed in order to keep legacy systems alive, despite their human cost in perpetuating poverty, disease, and conflict.

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