Thursday, August 23, 2018

[ozcpgtmb] Universal cryogenic records

Nothing scientists do in the lab, for example with particle accelerators, sets new high temperature records for the universe: we are vastly outclassed by cosmic rays and the Big Bang.  Therefore, we should not fear accidentally destroying the universe by creating high temperature conditions never before seen in the universe.

However, assuming we are the only, or at least, first, intelligent life, are we setting low temperature records for the universe in the lab?  The cosmic microwave background radiation causes all objects to (eventually) be heated to at least 2.7 K.  Therefore, any laboratory experiments achieving temperatures below that may be creating conditions that have never previously occurred in the universe.  These are the experiments that might have accidentally destroyed the universe, maybe triggering vacuum decay.  No one protests these, though.

Who first achieved laboratory conditions colder than CMB?  Probably Kamerlingh Onnes.

The Boomerang Nebula is (temporarily) 1 K.  Who first achieved laboratory temperatures below that?  What is the coldest temperature an astronomical process might naturally create?

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