Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Where's the coldest spot in the universe?

Where's the coldest spot in the universe? By Tom Shachtman
Smithsonian magazine, January 2008

This week it felt like Chicago was the COLDEST SPOT in the universe ! But Physicists in Massachusetts come to grips with the lowest possible temperature: absolute zero

Where's the coldest spot in the universe? Not on the moon, where the temperature plunges to a mere minus 378 Fahrenheit. Not even in deepest outer space, which has an estimated background temperature of about minus 455°F. As far as scientists can tell, the lowest temperatures ever attained were recently observed right here on earth.

The record-breaking lows were among the latest feats of ultracold physics, the laboratory study of matter at temperatures so mind-bogglingly frigid that atoms and even light itself behave in highly unusual ways. Electrical resistance in some elements disappears below about minus 440°F, a phenomenon called superconductivity. At even lower temperatures, some liquefied gases become "superfluids" capable of oozing through walls solid enough to hold any other sort of liquid; they even seem to defy gravity as they creep up, over and out of their containers.

.......for more go here

A good read !

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