Aired July 2007, BBC Four
Recorded July 29 2007, BBc Four
This two-part scientific detective tale tells the story of a remarkable group of pioneers who wanted to reach the ultimate extreme: absolute zero, a place so cold that the physical world as we know it doesn't exist, electricity flows without resistance, fluids defy gravity and the speed of light can be reduced to 38 miles per hour.
Each film features a strange cast of eccentric characters, including: Clarence Birds Eye; Frederic 'Ice King' Tudor, who founded an empire harvesting ice; and James Dewar, who almost drove himself crazy by trying to liquefy hydrogen.
Absolute zero became the Holy Grail of temperature physicists and is considered the gateway to many new technologies, such as nano-construction, neurological networks and quantum computing. The possibilities, it seems, are limitless.
Part 2: Race for Absolute Zero
Focuses on the fierce rivalry that took place in the laboratories in Britain, Holland, France and Poland as they sought the ultimate extreme of cold. The program will follow the extraordinary discoveries of superconductivity and superfluidity and the attempt to produce a new form of matter that Albert Einstein predicted would exist within a few billionths of degrees above absolute zero.