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NOVA: Absolute Zero

The two-part special Absolute Zero presents the epic story of humanity’s struggle to master extreme cold. This NOVA special re-creates groundbreaking discoveries across four centuries that expanded our knowledge of low temperatures and led ultimately to today’s cutting edge “cold technologies.” Its memorable characters range from a 17th-century court magician who rigged a primitive form of air conditioning in Westminster Abbey to the original Captain Birdseye, who invented frozen food.

For the first time on television, this program tells the gripping story of the decades-long scientific race between two leading chemists to liquefy helium and nitrogen, which opened the door to the modern era of refrigeration and modern air conditioning. The final chapter climaxes in a recent Nobel-winning breakthrough -- the production of a new form of matter that Albert Einstein predicted would exist within a few billionths of a degree above absolute zero.