text-only page produced automatically by LIFT Text
Transcoder Skip all navigation and go to page contentSkip top navigation and go to directorate navigationSkip top navigation and go to page navigation
National Science Foundation
Now Showing: Film, TV, Museums & More
Promoting Public Understanding of Science & Engineering
NSF supports a wide variety of educational and informational projects for the general public
IMAX films and other film projects for diverse audiences
Permanent, regional and traveling exhibits and associated outreach programs
Innovative programs for children and adults, and science information material for broadcasters
Radio shows, Web-based resources, community programs, life-long learning opportunities
Overview of NSF's Informal Science Education program

Absolute Zero and the Conquest of Cold

image of low-temperature experiment

In today's world it's easy to take for granted the innovations that have used very cold temperatures to improve our quality of life--from refrigeration to air conditioning to cell phones--or to make possible the exploration of space or the use of new medical technologies.

But advancements in low-temperature physics, a field that has produced 27 Nobel prizes, have not only produced technologies we now depend on, but have also helped scientists explore what happens when temperatures drop to levels unlike those in the rest of the physical world. "Absolute Zero and the Conquest of Cold," a two-part PBS television special, with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), is based largely on Tom Shachtman's book of the same name. The series demonstrates the impact of our mastery of extreme cold on our lives, culture, and future discovery and innovation.

"Low-temperature physics is a topic that will be new to the television audience," says Sandra Welch, NSF program manager. "The historical approach, which examines the search for lower and lower temperatures and the progress that science is making toward reaching absolute zero, is a fascinating story that will engage audiences through television and the Internet, increasing their understanding of the scientific process over time."

Outstanding work on "Absolute Zero" has earned its writer and producer the 2009 American Institute of Physics (AIP) Science Writing Award in the Broadcast Category.

Complementing the series, a Web site offers resources for teachers, as well as games, activities and a survey. For more information, go to http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/zero/.


Credit: © 2008 Meridian Productions, Inc. and Windfall Films Ltd.