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Thread: About absolute zero

  1. #1 About absolute zero 
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    Is there any explanation as to why absolute zero is capped at -273 degrees while heat can go waaay much higher on the cold/heat scale? Or does it really just go "Thats just how it is"?

    Is the absolute zero simply the lowest that can be scientifically proven at the moment? Is there any evidence that it could go even colder?

    I just always found it curious that cold has such a limitation and heat doesent. Logically one could assume the cold scale could go as far as the heat scale, due to some sort of equilibrium? I dunno...


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  3. #2  
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    Absolute zero = zero heat.
    How can you go any lower?
    (There's no such thing as "cold" or a "cold scale").


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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    Is there any explanation as to why absolute zero is capped at -273 degrees while heat can go waaay much higher on the cold/heat scale? Or does it really just go "Thats just how it is"?

    Is the absolute zero simply the lowest that can be scientifically proven at the moment? Is there any evidence that it could go even colder?

    I just always found it curious that cold has such a limitation and heat doesent. Logically one could assume the cold scale could go as far as the heat scale, due to some sort of equilibrium? I dunno...
    It's based on molecular motion. At absolute zero, there is absolutely zero molecular motion. You cannot have less motion than none. There is no anti-motion.
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    Is there any explanation as to why absolute zero is capped at -273 degrees while heat can go waaay much higher on the cold/heat scale? Or does it really just go "Thats just how it is"?

    Is the absolute zero simply the lowest that can be scientifically proven at the moment? Is there any evidence that it could go even colder?

    I just always found it curious that cold has such a limitation and heat doesent. Logically one could assume the cold scale could go as far as the heat scale, due to some sort of equilibrium? I dunno...
    Yes, this reminds me rather of Spike Milligan in a darkened room, saying, "Hey, who turned on the dark?"

    It seems initially counterintuitive I agree, but as others have said, "cold" isn't a "thing" that you have unlimited degrees of, any more than "darkness" is. We have no trouble understanding that darkness is just absence of light. Absolute zero is just the heat equivalent of total darkness.

    Temperature reflects the amount (or a better analogy would be the "pressure") of heat energy. When you've taken out ALL the heat energy, the heat "pressure" naturally becomes zero.
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    We have no trouble understanding that darkness is just absence of light.
    That does not apply to all posters.
    Its the way nature is!
    If you dont like it, go somewhere else....
    To another universe, where the rules are simpler
    Philosophically more pleasing, more psychologically easy
    Prof Richard Feynman (1979) .....

    Das ist nicht nur nicht richtig, es ist nicht einmal falsch!"
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexG View Post
    We have no trouble understanding that darkness is just absence of light.
    That does not apply to all posters.
    Yes, I sort of mentally strapped on my crash helmet after writing that. There may be someone out there, and I mean, out there, who will take issue even with that.
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  8. #7  
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    Theorist is banned andAndyThomasTheKey​ hasn't been around for a while -- I think we're OK
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  9. #8  
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    "Give me strengf!", as they say in the East End of London.
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  11. #10  
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    Sorry for posting such a dumb question but I needed to scratch that itch.

    Thanks for answering though. Montana put it into the perspective I feel I was missing.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    Sorry for posting such a dumb question but I needed to scratch that itch.

    Thanks for answering though. Montana put it into the perspective I feel I was missing.
    No, it's not dumb, it's quite reasonable until you have the idea of heat being "something", namely a form of energy. It took centuries for that idea to take shape.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    Sorry for posting such a dumb question but I needed to scratch that itch.

    Thanks for answering though. Montana put it into the perspective I feel I was missing.
    It's not a dumb question. If it were, you would have been made aware of that when Dywyddyr was licking tears off your cheek.
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  14. #13  
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    As others have mentioned, it is just absence of energy. Once all energy is gone you cannot remove anymore.

    temperature goes so high because you can usually dump more energy into something. More pressure, more exchange, fusion, more energy can be added in.

    It is kinda like making a fire. you can turn a match into a raging inferno simply by adding more energy to fuel it, but once the match burns out you need to light a new one.
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    I just always found it curious that cold has such a limitation and heat doesent.

    This is the bit that caught my attention (I assume heat refers to energy rather the temperature). Just to try a restatement of the query, "Is it possible that a moon encircling a planet (no sun or other energy source) could have a temperature of zero degrees absolute?". Such an object would have finite gravitational energy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonG View Post
    I just always found it curious that cold has such a limitation and heat doesent.

    This is the bit that caught my attention (I assume heat refers to energy rather the temperature). Just to try a restatement of the query, "Is it possible that a moon encircling a planet (no sun or other energy source) could have a temperature of zero degrees absolute?". Such an object would have finite gravitational energy.
    No, a moon circling a planet without a host star would be very very cold. However it would not be absolute zero.

    Edit: I would like to point out, nothing in the universe is absolute zero. Matter cannot get to absolute zero for a variety or reasons but the most prominent that will defeat all efforts is zero-point energy. This is the minimal amount of energy that molecules must have. It cannot get any lower.

    Naturally occuring in the coldest depths of the universe is around 2-3 kelvin. In labs we have gotten colder. Look up bose-einstein condensate.
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    An idea has been in my heas for awhile, would if we had nega tive movement, or in other worda using dark energy to theoreticly create something that is negative ly heated
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    Edit: I would like to point out, nothing in the universe is absolute zero.

    Please don't be so patronising - difficult to avoid on science forums, I know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post

    that's right, because I have better things to do. How about you?
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by thulium_gal View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post

    that's right, because I have better things to do. How about you?
    You have better things to do than get an education?
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  21. #20  
    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
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    I have better things to do
    Yeah, posting nonsense on science forums is one of them I suppose it's easier than learning enough to make sensible posts. Is it laziness or stupidiy that made you choose that route?
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  22. #21  
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonG View Post
    I just always found it curious that cold has such a limitation and heat doesent.

    This is the bit that caught my attention (I assume heat refers to energy rather the temperature). Just to try a restatement of the query, "Is it possible that a moon encircling a planet (no sun or other energy source) could have a temperature of zero degrees absolute?". Such an object would have finite gravitational energy.
    Don't confuse gravitational (or any other kind of) energy of a bulk object with the random kinetic energy of the molecules. The fact a moon has kinetic and gravitational potential energy does not in principle stop it from having a temperature of absolute zero. (It won't in practice be that cold, as the cosmic background radiation is 2.7K: Cosmic microwave background - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia but that another story.)
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldenRatio View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by JonG View Post
    I just always found it curious that cold has such a limitation and heat doesent.

    This is the bit that caught my attention (I assume heat refers to energy rather the temperature). Just to try a restatement of the query, "Is it possible that a moon encircling a planet (no sun or other energy source) could have a temperature of zero degrees absolute?". Such an object would have finite gravitational energy.
    No, a moon circling a planet without a host star would be very very cold. However it would not be absolute zero.

    Edit: I would like to point out, nothing in the universe is absolute zero. Matter cannot get to absolute zero for a variety or reasons but the most prominent that will defeat all efforts is zero-point energy. This is the minimal amount of energy that molecules must have. It cannot get any lower.

    Naturally occuring in the coldest depths of the universe is around 2-3 kelvin. In labs we have gotten colder. Look up bose-einstein condensate.
    I'm not sure this is right. My understanding is that at absolute zero, zero point energy persists. Conversely therefore, the existence of zero point energy does not prevent one from attaining absolute zero. Absolute zero is merely the temperature at which no more heat can be extracted. And by definition you can't extract zero point energy. So its residual presence does not confer any temperature on the substance in question.
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  24. #23  
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    From exchemist:

    Don't confuse gravitational (or any other kind of) energy of a bulk object with the random kinetic energy of the molecules. The fact a moon has kinetic and gravitational potential energy does not in principle stop it from having a temperature of absolute zero.


    This was precisely my purpose in restating the question ! There is a misconception that zero temperature implies zero energy. It is quite possible for a million molecules to be moving in the same direction at at 1000 m/sec, so they have kinetic energy, and yet be at absolute zero of temperature.

    PS. I have spent most of my professional career in research which involved cooling molecules to temperatures close to absolute zero by entraining them in expanding supersonic jets, which ensures that the molecules concerned have very similar velocities. The purpose of this was to obtain high resolution spectra of the entrained molecules. I am not likely to confuse temperature as referenced in the Boltzmann distribution and the mistaken notion that temperature equates to kinetic energy.
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  25. #24  
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonG View Post
    From exchemist:

    Don't confuse gravitational (or any other kind of) energy of a bulk object with the random kinetic energy of the molecules. The fact a moon has kinetic and gravitational potential energy does not in principle stop it from having a temperature of absolute zero.


    This was precisely my purpose in restating the question ! There is a misconception that zero temperature implies zero energy. It is quite possible for a million molecules to be moving in the same direction at at 1000 m/sec, so they have kinetic energy, and yet be at absolute zero of temperature.

    PS. I have spent most of my professional career in research which involved cooling molecules to temperatures close to absolute zero by entraining them in expanding supersonic jets. The purpose of this was to obtain very high resolution spectra of the entrained molecules. I am not likely to confuse temperature as referenced in the Boltzmann distribution and the mistaken notion that temperature equates to kinetic energy.
    Ah I see, so your intent was to highlight the absurdity of the idea.

    I'm sorry for misreading you. All I can say in defence is that we get such a wide spectrum of knowledge on this forum that it is sometimes hard to tell whom one is dealing with. I'll keep your area of expertise in mind for future queries I may have. Thanks for letting me know.
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  26. #25  
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    I have better things to do
    Yeah, posting nonsense on science forums is one of them I suppose it's easier than learning enough to make sensible posts. Is it laziness or stupidiy that made you choose that route?
    I know how tricky your mind can get that I am not that stupid. Is it laziness or cluelessness that you have not contributed anything in the thread?
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    To exchemist:

    And thank you for your response. Misreading on Science forums seems to be rife - I have certainly done it myself.
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  28. #27  
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    Quote Originally Posted by thulium_gal View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    I have better things to do
    Yeah, posting nonsense on science forums is one of them I suppose it's easier than learning enough to make sensible posts. Is it laziness or stupidiy that made you choose that route?
    I know how tricky your mind can get that I am not that stupid. Is it laziness or cluelessness that you have not contributed anything in the thread?

    Let us not disturb the thread of member Raziell with personal insults, shall we?
    It would be a shame if the Staff had to intervene.
    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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    I had to split up with my atomic partner. Just didn't have the energy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chesslonesome View Post
    I had to split up with my atomic partner. Just didn't have the energy.
    We can't all share that special bond.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chesslonesome View Post
    I had to split up with my atomic partner. Just didn't have the energy.
    We can't all share that special bond.

    It brought me to new levels.
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  32. #31  
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    Let us not disturb the thread of member Raziell with personal insults, shall we?
    It would be a shame if the Staff had to intervene
    Fair enough, but vapid stupidity annoys me and I pointed it out. I still fail to understand why the chronically ignorant feel the need to display their ignorance on a public forum. I'll leave it there :shrug:
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chesslonesome View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chesslonesome View Post
    I had to split up with my atomic partner. Just didn't have the energy.
    We can't all share that special bond.

    It brought me to new levels.
    Glad it helped you break out of your shell.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chesslonesome View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chesslonesome View Post
    I had to split up with my atomic partner. Just didn't have the energy.
    We can't all share that special bond.

    It brought me to new levels.
    Glad it helped you break out of your shell.
    Considering all the space I had things seemed to be pretty neutral.
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  35. #34  
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    Quote Originally Posted by frumpydolphin View Post
    An idea has been in my heas for awhile, would if we had nega tive movement, or in other worda using dark energy to theoreticly create something that is negative ly heated
    What? This makes no sense to me. Please explain this gibberish.
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  36. #35  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chucknorium View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by frumpydolphin View Post
    An idea has been in my heas for awhile, would if we had nega tive movement, or in other worda using dark energy to theoreticly create something that is negative ly heated
    What? This makes no sense to me. Please explain this gibberish.

    As far as I can tell,
    (s)he has the idea that anti-motion of molecules (which is equated to dark energy somehow) exists, thereby creating the possibility of negative heat.
    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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  37. #36  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chucknorium View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by frumpydolphin View Post
    An idea has been in my heas for awhile, would if we had nega tive movement, or in other worda using dark energy to theoreticly create something that is negative ly heated
    What? This makes no sense to me. Please explain this gibberish.
    "Fascinating, Captain: sensors indicate negative intelligence!"

    Seriously though, frumpydolphin is a new member who does take the trouble to go away and read things. I think Descartes' translation of this is probably right. By pointing out that "anti-motion" would be required, he has put his finger on the problem with the concept.
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    So dark energy is the opposite of regular energy right? If so it should have opposite affects aswell.
    And by the way I just said its an idea only theory until we can test it so please dont say anything about it being stupid.
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    Quote Originally Posted by frumpydolphin View Post
    So dark energy is the opposite of regular energy right?
    Nope. That's not right. (For one thing, "regular energy" is a pretty broad spectrum of things.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by frumpydolphin View Post
    its an idea only theory until we can test it so please dont say anything about it being stupid.
    It's an 'idea' that you have -- that part is true. It doesn't qualify as a hypothesis. It is not a theory. It is not a theory until all steps of the scientific method have been passed. And I have no idea what sort of testing that 'we' are going to do ????

    You should do some reading: Scientific method - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Last edited by Chucknorium; May 14th, 2014 at 09:31 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by frumpydolphin View Post
    So dark energy is the opposite of regular energy right? If so it should have opposite affects aswell.
    And by the way I just said its an idea only theory until we can test it so please dont say anything about it being stupid.
    Frumpydolphin, I'm afraid it is logically possible to write off certain ideas as stupid before going to the bother of testing them. And a good job too, or we would never get anything useful done. But in your case I think there is a simple misunderstanding. Dark energy does not mean "anti-energy". You may be thinking of matter versus "anti-matter". But "dark matter" and "dark energy" are not anti-forms of anything. They are just forms we cannot detect, hence "dark", but which cosmologists think may nevertheless be there, due to some features of the cosmos that we can observe. More about it here: Dark energy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    As to anti-movement, surely would mean stationary, wouldn't it? What else could it mean?
    Last edited by exchemist; May 15th, 2014 at 03:48 AM.
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    That is what I needes to know dark energy is not anti energy.
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    Anti-energy?
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Anti-energy?

    I think he means negative energy lol
    Last edited by Dr. Gerald McGonagall; May 15th, 2014 at 05:24 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Anti-energy?
    Energy that has opposite effects of regular energy is what I meant, kind of like how in sci-fi movies anti-matter is highly explosive(opposite of most regular matter)
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    Again though, "energy" is too broad a term for "anti-energy" to make much sense. Negative energy is something more specific (and AFAIK, doesn't have anything to do with dark energy).
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    Quote Originally Posted by frumpydolphin View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Anti-energy?
    Energy that has opposite effects of regular energy is what I meant, kind of like how in sci-fi movies anti-matter is highly explosive(opposite of most regular matter)
    The concept of 0 be it in temperature or the concept of darkness would be voided from any type of energy. Dark energy is making an effect that astronomers can measure, the effects show the signs of making a measurable effect on galaxies. Knowing that this dark energy can move entire galaxies, and how it is effecting them, if it had a negative effect it would surely be pulling the universe together. Please correct me if I am wrong.
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  48. #47  
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiMaster View Post
    Again though, "energy" is too broad a term for "anti-energy" to make much sense. Negative energy is something more specific (and AFAIK, doesn't have anything to do with dark energy).
    However, dark energy does have negative pressure.
    There are no paradoxes in relativity, just people's misunderstandings of it.
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  49. #48  
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldenRatio View Post
    Naturally occuring in the coldest depths of the universe is around 2-3 kelvin.
    I have a great t-shirt. Deep Space weather forcast:

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    Forum Professor leohopkins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    Is there any explanation as to why absolute zero is capped at -273 degrees while heat can go waaay much higher on the cold/heat scale? Or does it really just go "Thats just how it is"?

    Is the absolute zero simply the lowest that can be scientifically proven at the moment? Is there any evidence that it could go even colder?

    I just always found it curious that cold has such a limitation and heat doesent. Logically one could assume the cold scale could go as far as the heat scale, due to some sort of equilibrium? I dunno...
    I believe it is possible to 'go lower' - Absolute nothing. i.e a 100% perfect vacuum, not even any quantum foam, but then as nothing at all exists in this state, it cannot be measured or observed and therefore has no temperature at all.
    The hand of time rested on the half-hour mark, and all along that old front line of the English there came a whistling and a crying. The men of the first wave climbed up the parapets, in tumult, darkness, and the presence of death, and having done with all pleasant things, advanced across No Man's Land to begin the Battle of the Somme. - Poet John Masefield.

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    Moderator Moderator Cogito Ergo Sum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leohopkins View Post
    I believe it is possible to 'go lower' - Absolute nothing. i.e a 100% perfect vacuum, not even any quantum foam, but then as nothing at all exists in this state, it cannot be measured or observed and therefore has no temperature at all.

    I do not understand your post. If temperature is a measure of molecular motion,
    then how is it possible that nothingness goes lower than 0 K if there is an absence of molecular motion and it therefore has no temperature?
    Last edited by Cogito Ergo Sum; May 28th, 2014 at 10:45 AM.
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