The Search for Absolute Zero

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There were many great physics breakthroughs in Victorian Britain and a host of pioneering scientists. One of the most famous was born as William Thomson although he is known as Lord Kelvin throughout history. Probably his most famous practical achievement besides his work on hear and energy was helping to build the first transatlantic submarine cable used for the transmission of telegraphs.

Absolute zero is literally the envisioned point at which a material is actually so cold its own particles stop moving. Absolute zero in itself has actually never been achieved, neither in nature nor in the laboratory. Yet researchers have come very close. It really may be impossible to get to absolute zero, and also if we did we might not recognize due to the fact that absolutely no thermometer could determine it.

When we determine the temperature level of anything we are recording the average energy of the particles which make it up. Temperature level suggests precisely how quickly the particles are vibrating or moving around. in a gas or liquid, molecules are actually free to travel in any course, and frequently bounce off one another. So temperature is connected to the mean speed of the particles. Inside a solid, atoms are secured in a latticework structure, really like Meccano held together by electronic bonds. When this becomes hot, the atoms are energetic and agitate around a great deal, like wobbly jello, while sitting in their positions.

The concept was illustrated in several documentaries which were aired originally on the BBC, as part of their Physics season.  I think the programmes are now available on Netflix although I’m unsure of which region it is on.  If you need to switch locales on Netflix you’ll need an account plus a VPN with a residential address. This company provide residential IP addresses –, although they can be quite expensive.

As you cool down a material, its atoms move much less. Within a gas their speeds drop; in a solid their vibrations are reduced. As the temperature level drops further and further, atoms move less and less. If cooled sufficiently, a material might become so cold that its atoms cease moving absolutely. This hypothetical still point is called absolute zero. The concept of absolute zero was actually identified in the 18th century simply by theorizing a graph of temperature level and energy to zero. Energy rises steadily with temperature level, and the line linking the two quantities can be projected backwards to discover the temperature at which the energy reaches zero: -273.15 degrees Celsius or -459.67 degrees Fahrenheit

In the 19th century, Lord Kelvin contemplated a new Pressure temperature range that commenced at absolute zero.
Kelvin’s scale effectively took the Celsius temperature scale and repositioned it. So, instead of water freezing at O degrees Celsius it does so at 273 kelvins and boils at 373 Kelvins (equivalent to 100 degrees Celsius) Today, the majority of chemists use kelvins to measure temperature.

Further Reading: Useful Article: Match of the Day on iPlayer