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Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea Chapter Summary & Analysis - Chapter 7, Absolute Zeros Summary

Charles Seife
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Chapter 7, Absolute Zeros Summary and Analysis

Mathematicians had to make their peace with infinity and zero, but did physicists? Eventually they too would have to do so. The first problematic zero is absolute zero or the lowest possible temperature, where gases have their smallest possible volume, the temperature discovered by Lord Kelvin. Absolute zero has no energy and is unattainable because any attempt to get a space to absolute zero exerts some at least an incredibly small degree of energy.

The idea of absolute zero, however, created the field of thermodynamics, which studies how heat and energy behave. Thermodynamics has taught us that there are many things we cannot do, like build a perpetual motion machine. It can also, however, teach us about the nature of light by explaining how light waves work. Thermodynamics led physicists to conclude that light was not a particle, but an electromagnetic...

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This section contains 905 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea Study Guide
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Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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