Tag Archives: Absolute Zero

There is one thing we can be certain of – nothing is certain

When I was studying physics at school as a late teenager I was told that outer-space was cold- very cold in fact it was as cold as it gets. And my physics text books told me that scientists knew that temperature and that temperature was -273 deg. Centigrade. Now to be strictly accurate that temperature is -273.15 deg. Celsius or is that -273.16 deg. (some confusion around freezing point of water and triple point of water). But then of course when I went to university I was told that even deepest darkest space was not at absolute zero it was a couple of degrees above absolute zero because of background microwave radiation. But then does space have a temperature at all. After all it is a near perfect vacuum Рdoes a vacuum have a temperature? But one thing we can be sure of Рnothing can be colder than absolute zero. At least on this one point all scientists are agreed Рthank goodness the science (of absolute zero) is settled. There is a satisfying consensus, not 97% of scientists, not 98% of scientists but 100% of scientists agree. Phew, how comforting to be surrounded by people who agree with your point of view.

Oh darn – now some pesky meddling sceptic, denier scientists have come along and crashed the party. What’s this about quantum gases and sub absolute zero temperatures. Who let that lot in?

I shall finish on a famous, and very apt, quote by Albert Einstein:-

“No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.”