Exploring the Fascinating World of Absolute Zero

Written By caroline

Caroline is a freelance science writer with a PhD in physical chemistry. She has a particular interest in the area of temperature measurement and has written extensively on the topic for a variety of science-focused websites. Kittens, lego, and barbeques are some of her other passions. She currently resides in Boulder, Colorado with her two cats.





Absolute zero is a fascinating concept in physics, and it has been studied by scientists for centuries. But what is it and what does it mean? Absolute zero is believed to be the coldest temperature possible in the universe. In this article, we’ll explore what absolute zero really means and answer some of the most common questions about it.

What is the temperature at absolute zero?

Absolute zero is the lowest possible temperature where nothing could be colder and no heat energy remains in a substance. The concept of absolute zero was first proposed by French physicist Guillaume Amontons in 1670. It wasn’t until the mid-19th century when scientists began to realize that absolute zero was a physically real temperature.

It’s minus 273.15 degrees on the Celsius scale, or minus 459.67 degrees Fahrenheit.

At absolute zero, all atomic motion stops. This means that absolute zero is also the point where a thermodynamic system has the minimum possible entropy.

Scientists have come very close to achieving absolute zero in laboratory conditions. In 1995, researchers at MIT succeeded in cooling a sample of atoms to within one billionth of a degree above absolute zero.

Absolute zero is an important scientific concept because it sets the starting point for temperature measurements. For example, the Celsius and Fahrenheit scales are both based on absolute zero.

  • Celsius: Absolute zero is defined as being 0K on the Celsius scale.
  • Fahrenheit: On the Fahrenheit scale, absolute zero is defined as being -459.67°F.

Is Absolute Zero Possible?

Physicists acknowledge they can never reach the coldest conceivable temperature, known as absolute zero and long ago calculated to be minus 459.67°F.

The laws of physics place absolute zero as the coldest anything can ever get, but it has never been attained in practice. In theory, it is possible to get arbitrarily close to absolute zero, but as you approach this temperature, the laws of physics become increasingly complex and difficult to understand and apply. In addition, the closer you get to absolute zero, the more energy is required to achieve further cooling.

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Absolute zero is important because it represents the lowest possible energy a system can have. At absolute zero, all thermal motion ceases and particles have minimum energy. Absolute zero also marks the end point of the Kelvin scale.

Attempts to reachabsolute zero began in the 19th century by scientists such as William Thomson (Lord Kelvin). In 1848, he proposed the idea of an “absolute thermodynamic scale” with a “zero point”, or absolute zero. Another early attempt was made by James Prescott Joule who, in 1852, speculated that absolute zero was attainable.

Since then, much progress has been made towards achieving absolute zero. In 1908, Heike Kamerlingh Onnes achieved a record low temperature of 1.4K using liquid helium. In 1937, Pyotr Leonidovich Kapitsa achieved a temperature of 0.2K using superfluid helium. In 1994, David Wineland and his team at NIST cooled atoms to 700nK using laser cooling methods. These are just some of the milestones achieved on the way to reaching absolute zero.

Although physicists have not yet reached absolute zero, they have come close enough to observe some strange and interesting effects. For example, at very low temperatures matter can exhibit strange quantum behaviors such as superconductivity and superfluidity.

So while physicists may never reach absolute zero, they continue to push the boundaries of what is possible and learn more about the strange and wonderful world of physics in the process.

The Coldest it Gets: Is Anything Colder Than Absolute Zero?

Most people would say no, but absolute zero is just a point on the Kelvin scale. It’s possible to go below zero on the Kelvin scale.

Atoms and molecules have a lot of energy even at very low temperatures. But at absolute zero, they have very little energy.

Absolute zero is the point where the molecules stop moving and all disorder disappears.

In theory, it’s possible to go colder than absolute zero.

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However, it’s not possible to go below absolute zero on the Kelvin scale.

what is the temperature at absolute zero

Sun vs. Zero: Comparing the Temperature of Absolute Zero and the Sun

Negative Temperatures That Are Hotter Than The Sun

Scientists have cooled potassium gas to one billionth of a degree below absolute zero. But in the quantum world, that’s actually hotter than the Sun. It’s hotter, even, than infinity degrees Kelvin.

In the quantum world, absolute zero is hotter than the sun. This is because particles at absolute zero are in their lowest possible energy state. All their energy has been removed, so they can’t absorb any more heat. But in the quantum world, there’s no such thing as true absolute zero.

Quantum mechanics tells us that particles can never be completely at rest. Even at absolute zero, they’re still in motion. And this means that they can still absorb heat. In fact, they can absorb an infinite amount of heat. So in the quantum world, absolute zero is actually hotter than the Sun.

Of course, this is all just theoretical. In the real world, absolute zero is still very cold. But it’s not as cold as we thought it was. And in the quantum world, it’s even hotter than the Sun.

Kelvin Zero: Is It Really Achievable?

At the physically impossible-to-reach temperature of zero kelvin, or minus 459.67 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 273.15 degrees Celsius), atoms would stop moving. As such, nothing can be colder than absolute zero on the Kelvin scale.

So what does this mean? If atoms stopped moving at absolute zero, then they would cease to exist. Therefore, absolute zero is the temperature at which all matter in the universe ceases to exist.

In theory, absolute zero is attainable. However, it has yet to be reached in practice. The closest anyone has come to reaching absolute zero is about one ten millionth of a degree above it.

The reason why it’s so difficult to achieve absolute zero is because it requires removing all heat from a system. Heat is a form of energy, and according to the laws of thermodynamics, energy can neither be created nor destroyed.

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This means that in order to achieve absolute zero, you would have to remove all of the energy from a system – an impossible feat.

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Chilling Out: How Low Have We Gone with Absolute Zero?

The closest to absolute zero anyone has reached is around 150 nano Kelvin. The group ended up receiving the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics. They got the prize because they ended up proving a theory called Bose-Einstein Condensation which had been made decades before it was proven.

It all has to do with the behavior of matter at very low temperatures. To get to these low temperatures, you have to remove almost all of the heat from a system. This can be done by using special techniques or by finding materials that have very little heat capacity.

The field of study that deals with matter at these low temperatures is called cryogenics. In order for a substance to be a good cryogenic refrigerant, it must have a very low boiling point. The most commonly used cryogenic refrigerant is liquid nitrogen.

Absolute zero is the temperature at which all thermal motion ceases. It is often incorrectly thought to be the coldest possible temperature but it is not. It’s just a theoretical point where everything stops moving.

Atmospheric pressure decreases with altitude. If you could go high enough, you would eventually reach a point where the air is so thin that it doesn’t transfer any heat. This is called the coldest place in the universe.

There are some materials that can get very close to absolute zero without being cooled by external means. These materials are called superconductors. They have no resistance to electricity and can conduct electricity perfectly.