Monday, November 22, 2010

Absolute Zero and the Conquest of Cold

Absolute Zero is a NOVA program that originally aired in 2008. I recently stumbled upon it and thought it would be of interest to science teachers, mathematics teachers, and perhaps to history teachers. Absolute Zero traces the history of the study of cold temperatures from the first thermometers to the work of modern scientists studying the science of cold. Along the way viewers pick up bits of information about how harnessing the power of cold changed daily life, industry, and trade around the world. Watch the video below.

Watch the full episode. See more NOVA.

Applications for Education
On the PBS Video site, where you can watch the entire program, you will find some excellent supporting materials including interactive displays and timelines. A Sense of Scale is an interactive display that enables students to put temperatures they're familiar with (room temperatures for example) in the context of a greater temperature scale that includes absolute zero and Planck temperature. A Matter of Degrees is an interactive display that asks students to create their own temperature scales using two fixed reference points. Milestones in Cold Research is a timeline of significant developments in the study of temperature. Finally, if you're looking for more ideas about using Absolute Zero in your classroom, NOVA has a teacher's guide that you can read online or print.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
NOVA on Hulu
Winter Physical Education Activities - Igloos and More
Understanding Genetics - Online Exhibits