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Tsujimoto Hitoshi

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Is there a theoretical maximum temperature?
« on: 31/10/2008 23:08:16 »
Tsujimoto Hitoshi  asked the Naked Scientists:

Hello Naked Scientists.

My name is Hitoshi. I am a Japanese and studying in PhD program in  
entomology in University of Georgia in the USA. Thanks for your program. I truly enjoy the show every week on Podcast.

I just came up with a question recently about temperatures:

In our physics or chemistry class, we have been taught that temperature of anything cannot go below -297 degree Celsius (0 Kelvin), while it can go up to millions of degrees. Also, the temperature is dependent on kinetic energy of molecules.

Moreover, according to the theory of relativity, nothing can move faster than the speed of light. If we take these things together, any molecule cannot move faster than the speed of light.

This made me think that there might be an upper limit of temperature as well. However, there might be infinite number of molecules and elements that may appear in high temperature conditions. Is there theoretically any upper limit of temperature or the temperature can go up infinitely?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks.

Hitoshi Tsujimoto

What do you think?


 

Offline Soul Surfer

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Is there a theoretical maximum temperature?
« Reply #1 on: 01/11/2008 16:41:10 »
There is not a clear upper limit to temperature like the lower one at absolute zero In the earlier stages of the big bang and the later stages of the collapse of a black hole temperatures can get very high indeed.  Similar temperatures are reached in the large hadron collider many millions of millions of degrees K
 

Offline syhprum

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Is there a theoretical maximum temperature?
« Reply #2 on: 01/11/2008 19:02:00 »
There are many answers to this question but the most widely held view is the planck temperature of 10^32K.
Here is an article that discusses it in greater detail

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/zero/hot.html
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Is there a theoretical maximum temperature?
« Reply #3 on: 02/11/2008 10:35:57 »
Depending on the definition of temperature you use you can get some very odd answers.
The distribution of excited states in a laser corresponds to a negative thermodynamic temperature (below absolute zero) and when the laser is turned off this returns to a normal value by becoming infinitely negative (which is the same as infinitely positive- look at the reciprocals) then cooling down from a very high temperature.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Is there a theoretical maximum temperature?
« Reply #4 on: 02/11/2008 23:26:28 »
Depending on the definition of temperature you use you can get some very odd answers.
The distribution of excited states in a laser corresponds to a negative thermodynamic temperature (below absolute zero) and when the laser is turned off this returns to a normal value by becoming infinitely negative (which is the same as infinitely positive- look at the reciprocals) then cooling down from a very high temperature.

erm...

 

Offline Flyberius

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Is there a theoretical maximum temperature?
« Reply #5 on: 03/11/2008 00:04:26 »
Depending on the definition of temperature you use you can get some very odd answers.
The distribution of excited states in a laser corresponds to a negative thermodynamic temperature (below absolute zero) and when the laser is turned off this returns to a normal value by becoming infinitely negative (which is the same as infinitely positive- look at the reciprocals) then cooling down from a very high temperature.

I heard that was a very technical way of looking at it.  Not exactly negative temperature.

But then I know very little to do with the science.  Just sounds cool.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Is there a theoretical maximum temperature?
« Reply #6 on: 03/11/2008 01:58:23 »
I'm trying to get my head around negative temperature.  ???
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Is there a theoretical maximum temperature?
« Reply #7 on: 03/11/2008 06:54:12 »
Normally, there are more molecules in lower energy states than higher ones. The Boltzman distribution can be used to calculate a temperature from this ratio of excited molecules to unexcited ones. With a population inversion you get a negative value for the temperature.
 

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Is there a theoretical maximum temperature?
« Reply #7 on: 03/11/2008 06:54:12 »

 

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