Highest Possible Temperature

  • #26
No, the scale from cold to hot in Kelvin should be...
0 K,...500 K,... Inf. K,... - Inf. K,... - 500 K,... - 0 K

Here's the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_temperature

But I was just asking for clarification...
 
  • #27
SpectraCat
Science Advisor
1,395
2
No, the scale from cold to hot in Kelvin should be...
0 K,...500 K,... Inf. K,... - Inf. K,... - 500 K,... - 0 K

Here's the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_temperature

But I was just asking for clarification...
No .. this is just an effective definition, much like negative mass, that can be useful in certain well-defined and restricted cases like the ones given in the examples on the Wiki page, but it not correct in any absolute sense. For that to be true in the absolute sense, there would have to be an upper bound on the number of energy states of the universe, and no such limit is known to exist AFAIK.

Furthermore, the fact that it is not useful or correct in the absolute case can be understood by looking at the temperature scale you posted ... it goes through infinity (!!!) and comes out the other side, which is clearly nonsense for a direct physical observable such as temperature. How could you measure negative temperatures with a thermometer? It would violate the zeroth law of thermodynamics, since an object with negative T could never be in thermal equilibrium with an object with positive T.
 

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