absolute zero

noun

Definition of absolute zero

: a theoretical temperature characterized by complete absence of heat and motion and equivalent to exactly −273.15°C or −459.67°F

Examples of absolute zero in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Each of these tiny blobs consists of 8,000 rubidium atoms that Steinhauer has cooled to near absolute zero and then swished around with a laser. Wired, "A Scientist's Tiny Black Hole Brings the Cosmos Into the Lab," 8 Nov. 2019 As tuns, however, tardigrades can endure radiation, extreme pressure and extreme heat and cold, including temperatures near absolute zero. NBC News, "What is a tardigrade?," 14 Oct. 2019 Inside, superconducting quantum processors were at operating temperature, a fraction of a degree above absolute zero. Wired, "Quantum Computing Is Here! But Also Not Really," 24 Oct. 2019 This chip is bonded to a superconducting circuit board and then enclosed in a refrigerator so powerful that its temperature approaches absolute zero. Sarah Kaplan, Anchorage Daily News, "Google scientists say they’ve achieved ‘quantum supremacy’ over classical computers," 23 Oct. 2019 On the flip side, absolute zero — cold so cold there’s nowhere to go but up — is almost within scientists’ grasp. Stephen Ornes, Discover Magazine, "What Does Absolute Zero Mean?," 30 June 2019 But this new material, NaYbO2 (sodium ytterbium oxide), remains disordered at the lowest measurable temperature: .005 degrees Centigrade above absolute zero. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Looks Like We Have a New Material State," 5 Sep. 2019 This point, known as absolute zero, is the starting point of the Kelvin scale, which was named after Lord Kelvin, a British scientist who lived from 1824 to 1907. Anchorage Daily News, "Thermometers are at work everywhere in cold-conscious Alaska," 7 Sep. 2019 Its high precision derives from a design that isolates the atoms from all forces except gravity, in part by keeping the particles in vacuum near absolute zero. Wired, "Scientists Watch Atoms Fall to See Earth's Changing Structure," 3 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'absolute zero.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of absolute zero

1798, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for absolute zero

Time Traveler

The first known use of absolute zero was in 1798

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Statistics for absolute zero

Last Updated

21 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Absolute zero.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/absolute%20zero. Accessed 28 January 2020.

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More Definitions for absolute zero

absolute zero

noun

English Language Learners Definition of absolute zero

technical : the temperature that is believed to be the lowest possible temperature

absolute zero

noun

Medical Definition of absolute zero

: a theoretical temperature characterized by complete absence of heat and equivalent to exactly −273.15°C or −459.67°F

More from Merriam-Webster on absolute zero

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about absolute zero

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