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New NIST Video: Bill Phillips School Talk on the Science of Ultracold

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has produced a DVD of a presentation that Nobel laureate William Phillips, a physicist at NIST, gave about the science of cold temperatures to approximately 800 students, parents and teachers at Parkland Magnet Middle School for Aerospace Technology in Rockville, Md., on Jan. 9, 2008. He showed how the properties of everyday materials—from inflated balloons that become flat as Frisbees to carnations that shatter like glass—change drastically at cold temperatures. The presentation was given in conjunction with the airing of the PBS NOVA program "Absolute Zero."

Phillips shared the 1997 Nobel Prize in physics "for development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light."

NIST created the DVD for teachers who wish to share the program with their students. To receive a copy, e-mail inquiries [at] (inquiries[at]nist[dot]gov). For more information about the presentation and highlights from the DVD, see "NIST Nobel Laureate Explains 'Science of Cold' to 800 Middle School Students." The PBS NOVA program "Absolute Zero" can be viewed online at

Released February 19, 2008, Updated January 13, 2023