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"150% efficiency engine" Topic

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831 hits since 4 Jan 2013
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Personal logo Pictors Studio Sponsoring Member of TMP04 Jan 2013 7:30 p.m. PST

They have discovered a way to make things negative temperatures and one of the possible uses of this would be engines that are more efficient than their theoretical potential.

This is a pretty exciting discovery for all kinds of reasons.


Parzival04 Jan 2013 7:35 p.m. PST

This is a pretty exciting discovery for all kinds of reasons.

And already we have the understatement of the year!

TMP link

I'd say this is the coolest science story ever, but I'd be accused of making a really bad pun…

Mako11 Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2013 7:35 p.m. PST

I suspect there will be a catch in there, somewhere……

SECURITY MINISTER CRITTER Inactive Member04 Jan 2013 7:48 p.m. PST


Personal logo Meiczyslaw Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2013 7:49 p.m. PST


Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2013 7:49 p.m. PST

There HAS to be a catch.

One of the stories I read today emphasized that it was NOT below Zero, but "negative temperature".
Which makes as much sense as "dark energy".

I suspect that what this will boil down to is liberal arts Journalism majors who took "rocks for jocks" as their Science electives are tarting up a real science story.
It COULD be that a minus sign makes the equations comeout right, but does not mean that it is REALLY "below zero".

Personal logo gamertom Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2013 7:58 p.m. PST

I somewhat suspect the researchers are using laser beams and magnetic fields as smoke and mirrors.

CraigH Inactive Member04 Jan 2013 8:12 p.m. PST

I think they should have a talk with the guys who thought they developed cold fusion.

Personal logo Meiczyslaw Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2013 8:50 p.m. PST

I suspect that what this will boil down to is liberal arts Journalism majors who took "rocks for jocks" as their Science electives are tarting up a real science story.

It could be worse. They could be talking about guns. wink

The speculation in Acts IV and V are likely bogus, but the recap in the first acts is interesting on its own.

GarrisonMiniatures05 Jan 2013 2:54 a.m. PST

Not pretending to be a theoretical physicist or anything, but:

Temperature is basically a function of the movement of atoms and molecules. Absolute zero is a theoretical limit based on no movement.


Even at absolute zero, atoms still contain some energy. My reading of this is that they have found a way of accessing some of that energy so that the energy levels are reducing beyond the energy levels at absolute zero.

The result seems to be that temperatures below absolute zero happen.

Disclaimer: The above statement could be pure (expletive deleted).

Wellspring Inactive Member05 Jan 2013 2:57 a.m. PST

I'm with the OFM. Journalists tend to be deeply, profoundly ignorant, and around here we obey the laws of thermodynamics.

Turtle Inactive Member05 Jan 2013 3:52 a.m. PST

Yep, also, when was this peer reviewed? There are plenty of people, even scientists, that like to publicize their findings waaaaaay to early.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP05 Jan 2013 5:57 a.m. PST

I seem to recall neutrinos violating the speed of light a few months ago too.

Aapsych2005 Jan 2013 8:18 a.m. PST

Someone better pull them over and give them a stern talking to for disregarding the inviolable!

freecloud05 Jan 2013 9:48 a.m. PST

There is a bit more sanguine stuff in the New Scientist:


But apropo the Dropship thread, something like this is desperately needed for all that ground-to-orbit shuttling going on :)

Personal logo capncarp Supporting Member of TMP05 Jan 2013 10:16 a.m. PST

Wellspring 05 Jan 2013 2:57 a.m. PST:

"I'm with the OFM. Journalists tend to be deeply, profoundly ignorant, and around here we obey the laws of thermodynamics."

That's fine and dandy but what about the time the OFM split the fart atom into its component "queef" particles (with "smells" instead of the quarks' "flavors")? The Attic wasn't originally the top floor of this place!

Dynaman8789 Supporting Member of TMP05 Jan 2013 10:46 a.m. PST

You know how I know this stuff is not newsworthy, I heard it here first. (now, if it were something about a new line of miniatures…)

Parzival05 Jan 2013 11:38 a.m. PST

Keep in mind that what we are reading and reacting to are articles in the popular press, which of course isn't peer reviewed or at times truly comprehending what is going on, but the actual research was published in Science, which is considerably more credible.

Mobius05 Jan 2013 12:43 p.m. PST

I'm thinking this is something caused by quantum mechanics. The atoms are held in a lattice so as not being allowed to have low energy states, only high energy states. This is seen as a negative temperature.

The weird thing to me is that atoms with all energy states are said to be at an infinite temperature. Because temperature is suppose to be an average of an aggregate of atoms. But in mathematics if you average an infinite with any fixed number your average is still infinite. This would imply that just one atom anywhere in the universe with infinite temperature would make the average temperature of all atoms (basically everything) infinite. But I guess I'm mixing number theory with physics.

Lampyridae Inactive Member05 Jan 2013 1:14 p.m. PST

The net effect is positive temperature/energy. They merely got the particles to behave as if they were at a negative temperature, thus simulating some aspects of it.

Dynaman8789 Supporting Member of TMP05 Jan 2013 1:37 p.m. PST

> but the actual research was published in Science

I'm sure they didn't say something like 150% efficiency though. Not nearly so exciting if it is not making more energy then put in.

Lion in the Stars Supporting Member of TMP05 Jan 2013 4:08 p.m. PST

Getting 50% more energy OUT of a reaction than is available to the reaction? There's more BS here than at a feed lot in Kansas City.

Personal logo Muerto Supporting Member of TMP06 Jan 2013 6:30 a.m. PST

I know a theoretical physicist who was once published in one of the scientific pop-journals without knowing it. It seems the 'journalist' scoured the arXiv pre-prints for something interesting, hyped it up with Star Trek references, misrepresented text as a verbal quote, and then put it to print. Then the online version's editor upped the Star Trek references. When my friend's advisor lodged a complaint the journalist claimed to have obtained publishing consent, but to have lost the emails in which it was given.

Pop-science magazines are to be read in the toilet for a reason.

RTJEBADIA Supporting Member of TMP06 Jan 2013 8:16 a.m. PST

I think most people are disregarding this largely because of the confusion around the term "negative."

Negative temperature doesn't mean less energy than absolute zero. It means "like positive temperature but instead of increasing entropy it decreases."

The various technological applications of really getting this working (esp. because negative temperature things always give energy to positive temperature things) are hard to fathom but certainly have potential.

Zephyr106 Jan 2013 2:42 p.m. PST

I'm sticking with Bessler wheels…. ;-)

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