Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

The Making of Absolute Zero

Visual for Absolute Zero documentary
Credit: WGBH/NOVA, Meridian Productions, Inc., and Windfall Films, Ltd.

Presenter: Russell Donnelly, Principal Investigator, Absolute Zero and the Conquest of Cold, Department of Physics, Univ. Oregon

Absolute Zero, a unique blend of science, cultural history, and adventure, is a two hour TV documentary about how civilization has been profoundly affected by the search for ever lower temperatures. From 17th court magicians to superconductivity and Bose-Einstein condensation it explores key concepts, significant individuals, and events in the field of low-temperature physics and describes the enormous impact that the mastery of cold has had on society through such technologies as refrigeration, air conditioning, and liquefied gases. The show premiered on BBC in 2007 to enthusiastic reviews, was featured on PBS-NOVA in the U.S. in January 2008, and is being translated into several languages for broadcast to EU countries. The presentation reviews how the idea was conceived and how, through 7 years of hard work, it actually got accomplished.

Anyone outside NIST wishing to attend must be sponsored by a NIST employee and receive a visitor badge. For more information, call Kum J. Ham at 301-975-4203.





Colloquia are videotaped and available in the NIST Research Library.

Created October 26, 2009, Updated December 30, 2016