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February 22, 2010 / Dave Gorham

Yeah, But It's a Dry Heat

[Warning: Serious science ahead.]

The temperature in New York has reached the highest ever recorded. And right in the middle of February. What gives? Laboratory scientists (in New York) have created the hottest temperature ever: 4 trillion degrees Celsius.



A computer rendition of the 4-trillion degree Celsius plasma. Image: Brookhaven National Laboratory

Yes, 4 trillion degrees. That’s hotter than the sun at 50 million degrees, way hotter than molten iron (1800 degrees), hotter even than the core of your basic supernova (2 billion degrees); it’s twice as hot as the temperature needed to melt neutrons and protons and seven degrees hotter than the pizza that burned the roof of my mouth Friday night.

The scientists hope that this new data will help them understand how matter first clumped from inanimate matter — the primeval soup theory. They hope, too, there will be practical applications in making computing devices smaller, faster and more powerful (I’d invest in one of those liquid submersion cooling systems for your new computer if I were you).

Read more about the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider  where this searing new temperature was created and more about the scientists who created it and what they hope to achieve. In the mean time, I now look at my neighborhood pizza parlor with renewed appreciation knowing the technology they employ to super-heat their delicious pie.

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