NOVA: Absolute Zero [DVD] [2007]

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Overview

Special Features

  • Printable materials for educators
  • Access to the NOVA Web site
  • Scene selection
  • Closed captions
  • Described video for the Hearing Impaired

Synopsis

NOVA: Absolute Zero
The documentary special NOVA: Absolute Zero incorporates two separate NOVA episodes on the subject of cold temperature. Both parts (as originally screened on PBS back-to-back) explore and chart humankind's quest to understand and achieve manufactured cold over the trajectory of time. Part one, "The Conquest of Cold," roughly spans the period of 1600 through the late 19th century. It begins in an era when mankind neither understood nor appreciated the intrinsic nature of hot and cold; many argued that both were aspects of the same basic phenomenon, but found this notion difficult to prove - until such groundbreakers as Antoine Lavoisier, Cornelius Drebbel and Michael Faraday codified related scientific ideas for future generations and thus spurred the Industrial Revolution on to new and lofty heights. Episode two, "The Race for Absolute Zero," recounts scientists' relentless competition with one another (including that between Heike Onnes and James Dewar) to push cold temperatures to unseen lows, and their success in finally reaching the subthermal level at which nitrogen and oxygen liquefy (-253° Celsius, or 20 degrees above absolute zero). The program then wraps by moving ahead to the end of the 20th century and examining Daniel Kleppner's success in achieving the formation of the Bose-Einstein condensate, a rare form of matter that appears as temperatures reach absolute zero. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Neil Ross
    Neil Ross - Narrator
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