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  The Nobel Prize in Physics 2001     
 
 

The Indian physicist Satyendra Nath Bose had made some statistical calculations concerning light particles, photons. He sent his results to Albert Einstein, who translated them and made sure they were published. He also extended the theory to include material particles.

What is Absolute Zero?

 

The air between you and this text consists of particles rushing to and fro at several hundred metres a second. The lower the temperature the slower these particles move. What would happen if the temperature approached absolute zero, –273 °C? Surely such cold cannot be achieved on Earth? This year's Nobel Laureates managed to cool down a gas of alkali atoms to 0.000 000 02 degrees above absolute zero – and then they saw something very remarkable happening: an entirely new state of matter arose, a Bose-Einstein condensate.
    The researchers were pleased, but hardly surprised. The quest had been a long one, starting with work by Albert Einstein 70 years earlier.

 
 
 


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