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Author Topic: What would a substance at absolute zero look like?  (Read 13193 times)

Offline Davy Stump

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Davy Stump  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
While watching a show on space, I had a question.

What would an object taken to Absolute Zero (0 K) look like? Would it be black, shiny, white, or what?
 
Thank you,

David Stump

What do you think?


 

Offline glovesforfoxes

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What would a substance at absolute zero look like?
« Reply #1 on: 27/08/2009 13:17:55 »
it depends on if light gives things it hits energy. i think it must. but that means it's no longer at absolute zero. so we couldn't actually observe things at absolute zero. i am not sure about this, though.

what if dark matter is mass that can't be heated? is that a possibility? wouldn't that fit the criteria of being unable to be interacted with?
 

lyner

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What would a substance at absolute zero look like?
« Reply #2 on: 27/08/2009 13:58:05 »
I don't think you can talk in terms of 0K but, at a very low temperature, there doesn't seem any reason why the surface charges couldn't be moved. That would produce reflection, if the energy gap was appropriate..
 

Offline thedoc

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Offline Mr. Scientist

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What would a substance at absolute zero look like?
« Reply #4 on: 01/12/2009 21:22:02 »
Davy Stump  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
While watching a show on space, I had a question.

What would an object taken to Absolute Zero (0 K) look like? Would it be black, shiny, white, or what?
 
Thank you,

David Stump

What do you think?

It's impossible to tell. We cannot even observe a zero-temperature. It seems to not even exist.
 

Offline yor_on

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What would a substance at absolute zero look like?
« Reply #5 on: 02/12/2009 18:47:07 »
At a zero temperature all emanations will stop. As we only can define subatomic particles by probability and those are what makes what we call matter we better look at a subatomic particle first.

And as that is a matter :) of probability only, unable to be defined as anything else? Well, I think it wouldn't be 'there' any more.
 

Online Bored chemist

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What would a substance at absolute zero look like?
« Reply #6 on: 02/12/2009 20:57:22 »
You can't get to 0K but you can get arbitrarilly close.
There's no reason why something shpould look different near 0K than at some higher temperature. Obviously, for example, if it's water it will look like ice rather than water, but that transition happens at about 273K. It won't seem to change much as you cool it further.
 

Offline yor_on

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What would a substance at absolute zero look like?
« Reply #7 on: 02/12/2009 22:10:06 »
It is a interesting question BC.

Let us assume that you are right and that we take a particle to 0K and that it still is there. Well, to my eyes we then seem to have split times arrow from matter :) We would have us a chunk of primordial 'time'

That as I think that matter just might be what creates time(s arrow) , and if we take it to 0K there will be no uncertainties any longer to it (HUP) which then should contradict all physics we have today.

Crazy?
 

Online Bored chemist

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What would a substance at absolute zero look like?
« Reply #8 on: 03/12/2009 07:06:55 »
Which part of "You can't get to 0K" didn't you understand?
 

Offline Nizzle

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What would a substance at absolute zero look like?
« Reply #9 on: 03/12/2009 08:46:07 »
Which part of "You can't get to 0K" didn't you understand?

Shouldn't that be: "We can't observe 0K" ?
 

Offline ...lets split up...

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What would a substance at absolute zero look like?
« Reply #10 on: 03/12/2009 08:54:34 »
You cannot observe it because it cannot exist, and if it did the light needed to see it's colour would give it energy so it wouldn't be 0K anymore.

But if it came up in a Star Trek episode my bet is it would be black.
 

Online Bored chemist

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What would a substance at absolute zero look like?
« Reply #11 on: 03/12/2009 19:16:14 »
Which part of "You can't get to 0K" didn't you understand?

Shouldn't that be: "We can't observe 0K" ?
No.
It's true that we cant observe it but since it doesn't exist that doesn't tell you a lot.
It's like asking you for a description of my sister.
I don't have a sister so it isn't just that you have not observed her, but that she doesn't exist.
 

Offline Mr. Scientist

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What would a substance at absolute zero look like?
« Reply #12 on: 03/12/2009 19:24:41 »
Which part of "You can't get to 0K" didn't you understand?

Shouldn't that be: "We can't observe 0K" ?
No.
It's true that we cant observe it but since it doesn't exist that doesn't tell you a lot.
It's like asking you for a description of my sister.
I don't have a sister so it isn't just that you have not observed her, but that she doesn't exist.

I tend to agree with you Bored - it's pretty straight forward.

Since no one has ever been able to observe or attain to such a temperature,is surely a proof alone that the temperature itself does not exist. There is always going to be half that heat of single quantum oscillator, where there is no absence of temperature in any square box of spacetime.
 

Offline ...lets split up...

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What would a substance at absolute zero look like?
« Reply #13 on: 04/12/2009 10:15:25 »
I'm betting 0K would turn the universe to scrambled eggs, which might explain why the closer we get to absolute zero the harder it is to get there.
« Last Edit: 04/12/2009 10:18:59 by ...lets split up... »
 

Offline Mr. Scientist

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What would a substance at absolute zero look like?
« Reply #14 on: 04/12/2009 12:39:59 »
I'm betting 0K would turn the universe to scrambled eggs, which might explain why the closer we get to absolute zero the harder it is to get there.

There is no state for the universe at OKelvin, because it doesn't exist. There would be no scramblin of eggs, because it doesn't exist.
 

Offline neilep

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What would a substance at absolute zero look like?
« Reply #15 on: 04/12/2009 13:30:28 »
I prefer my scrambled eggs hot anyway !!
 

Offline yor_on

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What would a substance at absolute zero look like?
« Reply #16 on: 04/12/2009 19:21:44 »
Sorry BC
got the impression you wanted to discuss it?

thanks.
 

Online Bored chemist

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What would a substance at absolute zero look like?
« Reply #17 on: 05/12/2009 17:45:11 »
What is there to discuss?
One of the laws of thermodynmics says you can't get to absolute zero.
 

Offline Mr. Scientist

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What would a substance at absolute zero look like?
« Reply #18 on: 05/12/2009 18:56:41 »
I can confidently say with almost a perfect certainty (ie, without actually knowing) that the object would appear black because any light (or other EM radiation) emanating from it would mean that it had not yet reached absolute zero, and any light reflected off of it would mean that, not being 100% reflective (is anything 100% reflective?), some of the incident radiation would be absorbed, thus making the object not quite absolute zero.  Combined with what BrdChmst said, I’d revise my guess to be that it would approach the nastiest, most vicious sort of blackness yet experienced. 

I was 150+ feet underground in a cavern when someone turned off the light, and we experienced the blackest black I’ve never seen! 

Without observational evidence however, the arguement of what it may or could look like is redundant, especially in a vacuum were OK ceases to even have an existence.
 

Offline yor_on

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What would a substance at absolute zero look like?
« Reply #19 on: 12/12/2009 22:10:56 »
What is there to discuss?
One of the laws of thermodynmics says you can't get to absolute zero.

Quite right BC, why even bother to say something?
It would have been sufficient in that case to say.. It can't.
Voila. the rest is just verbal subterfuge :)

Don't know why I react at your answer, probably the tone of it?
Uncivil?
 

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« Reply #20 on: 10/02/2010 02:17:43 »
if your talking about getting to "absolute zero" then, no, its not possible. we have attained -273 Celsius or -459.4 Fahrenheit. which is pretty close to -273.15 Celsius/-459.67 Fahrenheit (the supposed number of absolute zero). but it is impossible to remove all the heat from an object. something colder must exist to transfer the heat to, but since absolute zero is as cold as it gets it is unattainable.
 

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« Reply #20 on: 10/02/2010 02:17:43 »

 

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