Summary of A Super-Cool Science Story About a Really Cold Thing

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Sarah Kaplan, science reporter at The Washington Post, takes you inside the world of atoms, in which everything is moving. Tiny particles move unpredictably but constantly – as long as the temperature is above absolute zero. Kaplan presents the fascinating findings of a research group at The National Institute of Standards and Technology in Colorado, who set out to achieve the impossible: To cool a solid object down to near absolute zero. Their research may pave the way for a new class of instruments with unprecedented sensitivity and help physicists understand quantum mechanics. getAbstract recommends this article to anyone interested in fundamental research and advances in applied sciences.

About the Author

Sarah Kaplan is a science reporter at The Washington Post.

 

Summary

What is temperature?

When physicists talk about the temperature of a material, they refer to the “thermal motion” of its atoms, that is, their constant “bumping into and bouncing off one another, jumping, spinning, spreading out and pressing together.” According to the laws of physics, cooling any material down to absolute zero, the point at which the atoms comprising the material would stop moving, is impossible.

What is sideband cooling?

Sideband cooling is a form of laser cooling scientists use to reduce the temperature of (atomic) samples to near absolute zero. Basically, a laser sends out photons that take up the sample’s thermal energy. Using this technique, researchers previously succeeded in ...


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