addressalign-toparrow-leftarrow-rightbackbellblockcalendarcameraccwcheckchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-small-downchevron-small-leftchevron-small-rightchevron-small-upchevron-upcircle-with-checkcircle-with-crosscircle-with-pluscontroller-playcrossdots-three-verticaleditemptyheartexporteye-with-lineeyefacebookfolderfullheartglobegmailgooglegroupshelp-with-circleimageimagesinstagramFill 1light-bulblinklocation-pinm-swarmSearchmailmessagesminusmoremuplabelShape 3 + Rectangle 1ShapeoutlookpersonJoin Group on CardStartprice-ribbonprintShapeShapeShapeShapeImported LayersImported LayersImported Layersshieldstartickettrashtriangle-downtriangle-uptwitteruserwarningyahoo

Re: [humanism-174] Below Zero K.?

From: Randy P.
Sent on: Friday, January 4, 2013 7:06 PM
Here is the answer to your question Mark:

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/phenom-200801.html

I found this article by following a link at the bottom of the article you posted to another article about the MIT physicists who have produced the lowest temperatures to date and play around with the bizarre form of matter called Bose-Einstein condensate. I am only vaguely familiar with this form of matter of which virtually everyone outside of physics has probably never heard about. I learned a great deal I did not know from the article you referenced and the one I excerpted below. Will need to incorporate this stuff into what I teach. 

Here is an excerpt. I have bold-faced the part about light.

"Another contender for the coldest spot is across Cambridge, in Lene Vestergaard Hau's lab at Harvard. Her personal best is a few millionths of a degree F above absolute zero, close to Ketterle's, which she, too, reached while creating BECs. "We make BECs every day now," she says as we go down a stairwell to a lab packed with equipment. A billiards-table-size platform at the center of the room looks like a maze constructed of tiny oval mirrors and pencil-lead-thin laser beams. Harnessing BECs, Hau and her co-workers have done something that might seem impossible: they have slowed light to a virtual standstill. The speed of light, as we've all heard, is a constant: 186,171 miles per second in a vacuum. But it is different in the real world, outside a vacuum; for instance, light not only bends but also slows ever so slightly when it passes through glass or water. Still, that's nothing compared with what happens when Hau shines a laser beam of light into a BEC: it's like hurling a baseball into a pillow. "First, we got the speed down to that of a bicycle," Hau says. "Now it's at a crawl, and we can actually stop it—keep light bottled up entirely inside the BEC, look at it, play with it and then release it when we're ready."

This just illustrates the apparent strangeness of the universe. I think geneticist and evolutionary biologist J.B.S. Haldane said it best:

"I have no doubt that in reality the future will be vastly more surprising than anything I can imagine. Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose." -- J.B.S. Haldane, 1927, Possible Worlds and Other Papers (p. 286)

 Discoveries since 1927 have certainly demonstrated the accuracy of Haldane's suspicions.

Randy








From: Mark Tiborsky <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Friday, January 4,[masked]:46 PM
Subject: [humanism-174] Below Zero K.?

I wonder if the speed-o'-light limit is flexible as well-

http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/smartnews/2013/01/physicists-find-that-absolute-zero-may-not-be-quite-so-absolute/




--
Please Note: If you hit "REPLY", your message will be sent to everyone on this mailing list ([address removed])
This message was sent by Mark Tiborsky ([address removed]) from The Cleveland Freethinkers.
To learn more about Mark Tiborsky, visit his/her member profile
Set my mailing list to email me As they are sent | In one daily email | Don't send me mailing list messages

Meetup, PO Box 4668 #37895 New York, New York[masked] | [address removed]


Our Sponsors

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy