There’s a new club night in Birmingham called ‘Helium’:

The DJs sport names such as ‘Diesel’, ‘Vermin’ and ‘Yumbolt’. Now if I were spinnin’ choonz at this club I would have called myself DJ Supersolid, but then again maybe they haven’t been keeping up to date with the latest developments in condensed matter physics.

The club has an ‘elements’ theme in general, with an Oxygen room, a Nitrogen room and a Carbon room. Cute. No Niobium room though, booo…

Fridge surgery

Take a look at this picture:


Yes I am hacksawing a dilution refrigerator….

One of the entry ports to the IVC has been hardsoldered with a stainless steel placeholder bush. We need to replace this with our custom made copper bush with feedthroughs for coaxes and DC lines. It is virtually impossible to remove this part given the small space around it, and we decided that we don’t want to put power tools nearby, lest we accidentally buzz through the dilution unit. Which would be a bit like putting a scalpel through the jugular.

So hacksaw it is.

I wonder how many low temperature physicists have wanted to saw their dilution fridges in half before. Today I got to indulge in that pleasure. The results weren’t pretty at times:

that's gotta hurt

Although half way through I started thinking ‘I hope that this is the right part I’m sawing…’

It’s not cake but it’s close!

Here are some pictures of our Liquid Nitrogen Ice cream endeavours… mmm. Disclaimer: Don’t try this at home unless you have had training in handling cryogenic liquids 🙂

physics and cake

Ingredients: Cream, milk or that strange stuff we don’t have over here, sugar, crushed fruit, and liquid nitrogen. Recipe: Stir the sugar into the cream until it dissolves, then beat it with a whisk until it is light and fluffy. Then add the fruit, mix it in, and then add the LN2, stirring continously until it has hardened. It takes about 5 minutes, as opposed to waiting for it to cool in the freezer for hours. You can use chocolate chips too but for some reason the fruit one seemed to come out better.

physics and cake

Because you have to keep stirring it, it tends to come out in fluffy bits rather than scoopable ice cream, but you can still pack it into a bowl or cone the same way 🙂

physics and cake

Rather tasty too. You have to be careful when you eat it, sometimes you get a REALLY cold bit in the middle and a rather bad Ice Cream Headache
To keep it from melting on a hot summer’s day, just add more LN2 topping:

physics and cake