Physics World, the member magazine of the Institute of Physics, has chosen a ‘selfie’ taken by NPL scientist Michael de Podesta to be one of its ‘pictures of 2013‘. ‘Selfie’, meaning a self-portrait photograph, was named the word of 2013 by Oxford Dictionaries, after its usage increased by 17,000% in the year.
The photograph shows one half of the copper resonator used by NPL scientists to perform the most accurate measurement yet of the Boltzmann constant, which states how much energy at the individual particle level corresponds to each degree of temperature. This measurement could revolutionise the way we define temperature, replacing the standard method that has been used for over 50 years.
The Physics World website describes the decision to include the photograph:
“2013 is the year when Oxford Dictionaries chose ‘selfie’ as its word of the year. In light of that, we could not resist including this rather excellent selfie of researcher Michael de Podesta, from the National Physical Laboratory in the UK, who recounts the six-year experiment where he and his colleagues have made the most accurate measurement yet of the Boltzmann constant – a result that will help redefine the kelvin.”
Find out more about NPL’s work to redefine the unit of temperature.
Find out more about the photograph and experiment on Michael de Podesta’s personal blog.