There's a piece of equipment that's slowly been making its way into restaurant kitchens: the blast chiller. It does exactly what it sounds like: cool things down quickly, using fast-moving cold air. This coming summer, LG is going to release a version of their refrigerator for home kitchens that incorporates a small blast chiller for quickly cooling down cans of soda and bottles of wine.
A larval fruit fly is hatched in the year 2011 and frozen while still pupating, half its body water solidified in frigid temperatures. After spending many generations in a state of suspended animation, the wee Drosophila melanogaster awakens and is allowed to grow up. One day, it wonders if it will ever be able to mate — but should it bring new larvae into this dystopian future?
In a breakthrough so hot it's cool, Spanish researchers have figured out how to make water freeze at room temperature. By artificially manipulating the mechanisms by which water condenses in the atmosphere, the researchers found a means to trigger ice formation at far higher temperatures than water's usual freezing point, a development that could lead to better artificial snowmaking, more efficient ice skating rinks, and better freezer technology.
I generally only have a use for two types of cold water: The wet kind that comes in invigorating showers, and the solid kind that goes in Scotch. Turns out, I've been limiting myself. Researchers claim to have discovered two additional kinds of cold water, types that stay liquid well below zero degrees.
The scientists claim to have found the two types of water in the microscopic cracks that appear in regular ice, but some researchers remain skeptical of the discovery.
What you consider solid, liquid or gas depends entirely on where you live. For example, men from cold, cold Mars might build their houses out of ice. Women from Venus, where the average temperature is about 870°F, could bathe in liquid zinc.
We think mercury is a liquid metal, but it's all relative. At one temperature, the mercury atoms arrange themselves into a solid crystal; at another, they flow freely around each other as a liquid. Children from Pluto (like mine, for example) could happily cast their toy soldiers out of mercury, because on that frigid planet it is a solid, malleable metal a lot like tin. Here on temperate Earth, you need a stove to cast tin, but a tank of liquid nitrogen to make mercury figurines.
In kitchens all around the world, cooks are experimenting with liquid nitrogen. It is a dramatic and very useful culinary tool that can cool or freeze things in an instant. It is made of pure nitrogen in a liquid state. Daniel Rutherford discovered the element nitrogen in 1772. It makes up 78.1% of the earth's atmosphere by volume. In its gaseous state, nitrogen is odorless, colorless, non-flammable, non-toxic, and largely inert. Nitrogen is found in organic materials, foods, explosives, fertilizers, and poisons.