Temperature is the most important parameter that one can vary in the laboratory to change the properties of matter so as to get a better understanding of its behavior. Heike Kamerlingh Onnes's liquefaction of helium‐4 in 1908 made the low‐kelvin‐temperature range accessible. Subsequent discoveries in low‐temperature physics included verification of essential predictions of quantum mechanics and statistical physics—for example, the temperature dependence of the specific heat of insulators and of metals. the introduction of the He3He4 dilution refrigerator in the late 1960s extended condensed matter physics into the millikelvin temperature range. Once again the opening of a new temperature range allowed many fundamental discoveries, particularly in condensed matter physics—heavy‐fermion superconductivity and the quantum Hall effect, for example.

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