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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Father of Cryogenics Born This Day

Willem Hendrik Keesom was a Dutch physicist who pioneered cryogenics and was the first to solidify helium under pressure (1926). In work done with M. Wolfke, after studying discontinuities in several properties of helium at very low temperatures (1927) they suggested that it may be due to a phase change. They called the helium above the transitional helium I and the helium below the transition helium II. In 1932, he produced a temperature just two degrees above absolute zero (-272°C ).

When you’re trapped on an ice world with no hope of rescue, who do you want with you?