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The Greatest Scientific Special of All Time: Absolute Zero, The Science of Cold

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Dewar Absolute Zero

Nova produces wonderful scientific specials.  They are compelling, interesting, and timely.  Their two hour season premier this year (2009), however, is the greatest piece of scientific television I have ever seen.  Since I found it about six months ago, I have watched it a half dozen times to introduce it to my friends and family.

Absolute Zero” walks the viewer through the history of related scientific discoveries as mankind tries to understand hot and cold.  Along the way we discover the relationship between solids, liquids & gasses, ship ice around the world, invent air conditioning and the refrigerator, and drive the installation of electricity to homes.

This special is the best I’ve ever seen at demonstrating the unbelievable complexities involved in scientific discovery.  It’s taken hundreds of people, thousands of experiments, and centuries to reach where we are today.

What we now know is that there exists an absolute cold where all forms of energy leave a body, and at which entirely fantastic things start to happen–fountains that never stop flowing, controlled levitation, and the ability to slow and eventually capture light creating the possibility of storing infinite amounts of information.

I try not to watch much TV and in fact generally encourage people to do without it, but this is a must see for anyone with an inquisitive mind. Video below,

What great science and engineers specials are available online?

Category: Engineering & Design, Interesting Stuff

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10 Responses

  1. Chris Edwall says:

    Sounds very interesting. Possibly because the book that I’m reading is similarly fascinating… It’s “A Short History of Nearly Everything” by Bill Bryson. It’s an amazing account of how we’ve learned what we know and an attempt to explain in semi-layman terms some of the latest knowledge…

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