JERUSALEM (Feb. 28)
Two American scientists who settled in Israel recently have constructed a refrigeration apparatus at the Haifa Technion that has come closer than any other to reaching absolute zero. The apparatus was designed by Dr. Judah Landau, a 28-year-old former resident of Albuquerque, New Mexico and Dr. Ralph Rosenbaum, 31, formerly of New York City. Both joined the staff of the Technion physics department in 1969. The temperature reportedly achieved by the device is minus 532.67 degrees on the Fahrenheit scale which is 55 thousandths of a degree, F. above absolute zero. Landau and Rosenbaum say their machine may reach one thousandth of a degree above absolute zero on the Centigrade scale which is used in Israel and throughout most of Europe. According to the Haifa Technion, the laws of physics make it impossible ever to reach absolute zero, the coldest possible temperature in the universe at which all matter is at rest.
The refrigerating apparatus is used to study the fundamental physical properties of solids and liquids at extreme cold. It employs isotopes of helium, some of which are rare and have become available only recently. Prof, Charles Kuper of the Technion explained to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that “at the present time, the frontiers of knowledge in physics are high energy physics and ultra low temperature physics.” He said the Technion is working in both areas. The invention of Drs. Landau and Rosenbaum puts it in the forefront of experiments to reach the lowest possible temperature. Other laboratories working in the same field are at the University of California, San Diego; Argonne National Laboratories, Illinois; Ohio State University and the Technical University of Helsinki, Finland.