Monday, November 10, 2008

The Coldest Place in the Universe

So cold in fact that scientists can slow light to the speed of bicycle and then, stop it. They do so using Bose-Einstein condensates (BEC), a bizarre form of matter achieved at extremely low temperatures when quantum states synchronize. The Smithsonian article is from January (h/t yahoo), a PBS Nova series "The Race for Absolute Zero" aired earlier this year. You can watch it here, a clip is below.



(image credit: representation of Bose-Einstein condensate, nanopicoftheday.org)