Super cold frozen robots

This is perhaps the stupidest question I’ve ever asked, and the urine one was pretty stupid.

In one Mystery Science Theater episode, poor Crow is put into a cryogenic chamber by Tom Servo and frozen to “zero degrees kelvin”. Joel says something like “you can’t do that, you’ll stop all molecular motion, cause a chain reaction, and kill us all…”

Can something in fact be so cold that theres NO molecular motion? Could it cause a disasterous chain reaction? Should I stop getting my physics knowlage from a puppet show?

Well, cooling to absolute zero would cease all molecular motion. As for the chain reaction, in a word … no.

In fact, from the wording the implication is that freezing to absolute zero would be impossible. Since the subject would have to be in contact with something there would inevitably be a transfer of energy (heat) which would raise the temperature of the subject back above 0 kelvin. In order to freeze something to absolute zero it would have to be in contact with nothing that has a temperature greater than absolute zero (2nd law of thermodynamics states that energy will transfer from the higher state to the lower state). Assuming that it were possible to completely seclude the subject you could freeze him to absolute zero, but this then excludes the possibility of a chain reaction since he is no longer “attached” to anything else.

What more could you expect from somebody who lets people kick him to the head?

By the way, realistically (I use the word loosely) there isn’t a way to get anything to absolute zero even if you could seclude it. Whatever “device” you are using to extract heat from the subject would itself have to be at absolute zero otherwise it would undoubtedly transfer heat back to the subject. I.e. as far as I know there is no means to extract heat from something except by means of the second law of thermodynamics so your subject could only get as cold as the extraction device itself.

What more could you expect from somebody who lets people kick him to the head?

Fair enough, but HYPOTHETICALLY if Crow was free floating in a chamber, with no contact with the sides, in a vaccum, and shielded from external radiation, how cold could he get? Might the nautral spin (and I suppose friction) of atoms of matter produce some kind of fundimental heat?

Incidently, the walls of my hypothetical Crow freezing chamber are super cooled to absorb thermal radiation as well…

So does Crow eventually lose all his heat due to thermal loss?

In a totally perfect vaccuum, with a totally perfect chamber you could reach 0 kelvin.

This still excludes the possibility of any kind of chain reaction however.

IIRC, some physicists recently won the Nobel prize by cooling atoms to very damn close to absolute zero by using a laser. The way I understand it, they keep zapping the atom from different directions to counteract the atom’s momentum until its kinetic energy drops to nearly zero. They were able to cool atoms to a few millionths of a degree above absolute zero.

And BTW, not all motion stops at absolute zero. Even at absolute zero, helium remains a liquid. You just can’t get around that Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle!