Sunday, January 06, 2013

What's Colder Than Absolute Zero?

There just has to be a joke in there somewhere right? Like your x-wife's heart. However this is not grist for the comics, but in truth scientists have created a quantum gas capable of reaching temperatures below absolute zero.

 This seeming impossible feat was made possible by suspending potassium atoms in a lattice made up of a combination of lasers and magnetic fields.

Up to this point it was considered to be the theoretical lowest limit of temperature. As a substance approaches this limit its' average amount of energy also drops until, theoretically, molecular activity "freezes" and no energy is available in the system.

Now things get weird. Because it seems it is now theoretically possible to move into sub absolute zero, matter begins to demonstrate odd characteristics.

Being able to produce fairly stable substances at a fairly large fraction of a degree below absolute zero could lead to creations of new forms of matter.

The strange thing about these new "temperatures" is that they are in truth not colder than absolute cold. Far from it. These new gasses inhabit an area called "negative temperatures" and could in reality be hotter than anything possible today.

 This apparent contradiction was described in a recent Huff Post Science article.

  • To comprehend the negative temperatures scientists have now devised, one might think of temperature as existing on a scale that is actually a loop, not linear. Positive temperatures make up one part of the loop, while negative temperatures make up the other part. When temperatures go either below zero or above infinity on the positive region of this scale, they end up in negative territory.
Does your brain hurt yet?


Anonymous said...


Beam Me Up said...

I am not going to say this too many more times before I really start banning posters. I WILL NOT TOLERATE ATTACKS OR FLAMES. I WILL DELETE THEM AND I WILL BLOCK ACCESS. If you are such a pin head that you can not get through a conversation on theoretical science without calling people names, you have NOT PLACE on BMU.

Beam Me Up said...

Sorry Anon...yeah I was a bit peeved at the filth that I had to delete was all. Should have just kept my mouth shut and done the editing. You guy are fun and one of the most intelligent bunch of people that I have had the privilege to speak with. I in no way want any of you to think that this was an indictment of your opinions. Far from it. If it was taken that way, please accept my heart felt apology.

kallamis said...

Oh I got it. I saw the same idiotic post. Amazing how some people are allowed to breed without restraints.
When you make less sense than "The Super Hero Squad," you shouldn't be posting on a site like this. They're better at staying on sites for honey boo boo or whatever the latest silliness is.

Beam Me Up said...

ahhhh Kall, thats just plain funny Kall absolutely!

And to think they missed the point completely. Its not if we have reached 0 kelvin or not, but the thought that as you approach it, temps act like any other object with quantum properties. I had never considered this or read anything about it and the thought mesmerized me! Absolute cold was the same as the hottest thing possible, the two are just flip sides of the same coin...its enough to give one a pain in the head!

kallamis said...

My basic knowledge in this area at all, is what I learned studying about super conductors.
And though I didn't consider this aspect of why I was looking, I feel like a complete and total dink dork.
I'm always interested in looping of virtually anything, as I'm one of those addicted to time people. And yeah, still thinking travel in time is possible.
But having something so cold it burns the skin we understand. Being so cold as to be hotter than anything, seems like one of the possible outcomes of going beyond, (beneath??) the absolute zero of energy created heat.
I've always had a problem where things could apparently keep getting hotter, but things could only get so cold. Never sat well with me, but then with some of the training I've been through, it's no wonder I'm so out there.
Plus, we are going by our very limited knowledge of the universe, and frankly that isn't much.
I think we have a lot to learn yet, and when we do, if we do, we are going to look back, and wonder what the hell was wrong with the people of this age. I think energy is simpler than we make it, and can be done easier, but people fight constantly against any kind of change. Maybe in a couple years I an get back to backyard tinkering and try and prove it.
Look how many years it was before you would even hear the term Quantum Physics spoken without a lab full of people snickering, or outright laughing.
Now it is basically accepted by the scientific community at large.
And I don't hear this being broadcast on the bloody news either. But I bet I hear about some idiots underwear if she gets drunk and shows stuff no sane person wants to see.