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A two-part documentary on the research about extremely cold temperatures begins at 8 p.m. today on KNME, Channel 5.The program tonight, “Absolute Zero: the Conquest of Cold,” begins with the 17th century court magician Cornelius Drebbel, who successfully created the world’s first air-conditioning system in Westminster Abbey. Daniel Fahrenheit and Anders Celsius, creators of the first thermometers, also figure in the early years of scientific studies.On Jan. 15, the second part, “Absolute Zero: The Race for Absolute Zero,” carries the story forward to the modern era and research that led to the Nobel Prize.Los Alamos National Laboratory has been engaged in the pursuit of extremely cold temperatures since early in its history and is now actively involved in the race for the coldest temperature.Laboratory Fellow Greg Swift was a consultant in the series. He noted in a recent e-mail that the laboratory has three teams of researchers who are on the “cutting-edge” of low temperature research and scientific investigation of matter near “absolute zero.”
Editor’s note: The lab’s low-temperature capability and historic contribution to this field will be the subject of an article in the Monitor later this week.