Philosophical Society of Washington

Adventures in Thermometry

Robert Soulen
Naval Research Laboratory & National Institute of Standards and Technology

2156th Meeting Abstract
Friday, January 24, 2003 at 8:15 PM


A boyhood interest in the outdoors led me to study the use of crickets as natural thermometers. During my career at NIST, my interests broadened to encompass other physical phenomena which covered a much broader temperature range- from the inconceivably Hellish temperatures extant at the outset of the universe (i.e., the “big bang”) to the bone chilling temperatures of cooled atoms and adiabatically-cooled nuclei. My research focus, however, has been the development of a temperature scale below 1 K. The results of this research were recently incorporated into an internationally-sanctioned temperature scale extending from 0.001 K to 1 K. During the presentation, I will discuss all the aforementioned topics which form my temperature Odyssey.

About the Author:

Robert J. Soulen, Jr. is a Staff Physicist in the Materials Division of the Naval Research Lab. He received his Ph. D. in physics from Rutgers University in 1967, and worked at the National Institute of Standards and Technology until 1987. His current scientific activities include identifying new ways to measure magnetic and superconducting properties and investigating enhancement of superconductivity. He has received the NBS Condon Prize for authorship, the U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal, and the Keithley Award of the American Physical Society, of which he is a Fellow.

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