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Author: Ross Butler
Written on: 11 July 2019
Last updated: 11 July 2019

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England, Science
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The quietest and coldest place in the universe is in Lancashire


That’s because English boffins have made themselves an atom nursery

Want to create a completely new substance as yet unknown to Mother Nature? Or just in search of some peace and quiet? At Lancaster University’s new Isolab facility, you can do both. It is the world’s quietest and coldest place, and it was created so that scientists could build materials, not from the top down, but from the atom up.

To do that, they need to be still and cool. (The atoms, not the scientists.)

As the Times explains:

“If a vibration wanted to reach his laboratory via the ground, the first thing it would have to do is pass through a 350 tonne concrete slab. Then it would need to navigate through a 50 tonne cube of concrete, which is itself floating on a bed of compressed air.

“If a vibration wants to reach it from the air, it will hit a Faraday cage that shields the room from all electrical interference, and then an acoustic barrier that stops all sounds.”

Dr Benjamin Robinson told the paper: “This is the smallest, most precise and coldest place in the universe. There’s nowhere else in the world that can do all this.”

The lab should help put British science at the forefront of quantum technology and is being used by a number of UK tech firms and university spin-outs for commercial applications.

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