But we're humanity. Of course we can get better, and be cooler. That's what science does. And we already know the coolest science of all is in space. And that's where we'll find ...
The Cold Atom Laboratory
So keeping in mind that the coolest particles ever were achieved by balancing magnetic fields against gravity, imagine what we could do if we took out a large part of gravity as a factor. Like, for instance, if we had a space station where we could attempt the same experiment.
Oh wait, we totally do!
If Vulcans had IKEA.
In 2016, the Cold Atom Laboratory will almost automate the previously-described cooling systems. The entire rest of the Universe can't make Bose Einstein Condensates, and we're fitting our space station with a BEC vending machine. It's already achieved 200 nanoKelvin in testing, without ever leaving the ground. And in space, the advantages of microgravity will offer unprecedented lifetimes for even colder samples. And then it's going to go one step further with Delta-Kick Cooling. In DKC, a pulsed magnetic field lets the particles exchange their kinetic energy for potential energy in the field, then removes the field to leave the particles with almost nothing. I think physicists learned this trick by studying bankers.
The Cold Atom Laboratory could achieve temperatures as low as one picoKelvin, a trillion times lower than anything else in the observable Universe. Because any random accident can release heat, but only deliberate intent has ever driven things so close to absolute zero. Ultracold experiments exemplify the most important aspects of humanity, and therefore the most important things in the Universe: the intelligence to find reality's limits, the ability to build the tools to get there, and most importantly of all, the curiosity to care about both.
So all those Facebook memes were right. Science really is the coolest thing ever.
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