Classical Conversations

Classical Conversations

Of all the reasons I am grateful to be able to spend so much time with our children, at the top of my list are the insightful, delightful, and unexpected moments that peek into each day.

As we walked into the house after running a large number of errands, the following conversation ensued:

Buster: Mom, is it possible to get to absolute zero?

Me: I think so.

Monkey: Actually, the second law of thermodynamics states that for something to get colder there has to be something colder than it for the heat to flow to. So, you can’t reach absolute zero because there is nothing colder than that for the heat to flow to, right Mom?

Me:……..Sounds right.

After we got inside, I sent Buds a message so he could be part of the conversation, too.

Chris: Tell them I have some solutions. One way is some version of Maxwell’s Daemon. Which is a special thing that can know how hot each molecule is and then

Monkey: I am smart.

Chris: separate out the hot ones from the cold ones. Did you know about Maxwell’s demon? You should look that up. tThat’s one way scientists have tried to get to absolute zero.

Monkey: Whare do the cold molecules go?

Chris: You put the cold ones on one side and suck out the hot ones.

Monkey: and the hot ones?

Chris: Take the hot ones and throw them somewhere else so that only the cold ones stay in your bucket. Keep doing that and you get colder and colder, but it does require you to have something at the atomic level that can measure each atom

which is




A long time ago, somebody had an idea that this measurement device would be a little tiny
demon and it was called Maxwell’s demon after the idea.

Monkey: But the heat in the room? and did you no that space is just a dregree or two below absolute zero?

Chris: Yes. It’s pretty cold.

Monkey: I no. You can freez in to a block of ice.

Chris: Ice is too hot.

Monkey: brrrrrrrrr

One of the things I loved about this exchange between Buds and Monkey was how obvious it is that Monkey is still a little girl, but she also has clear insights and questions. She really gets the idea behind this concept. I love that for her sake.

They. Never. Cease. To. Amaze…