What has a quantum thermometer got to do with Einstein’s theory of relativity?

It turns out that, much like the relationship identified by Einstein in his theory of relativity between speed and time, observers moving at different accelerations will perceive temperature differently.

These differences, albeit minute, are a consequence of the same relativistic relationships that Einstein formulated in his famous theories. Called the Unruh effect, these changes in the temperature of the fabric of the universe have been unobservable up until now because they require very rapid acceleration to speeds approaching the speed of light.

Dr James Quach has figured out a way to make a quantum thermometer that is completely stationary to measure the Unruh effect. Based on the technology used in quantum computers, the research will allow physicists to measure ultracold temperatures with precision for the first time. Read more about Dr Quach’s research in the original Cosmos article here.

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