Absolute zero

Bloom is familiar with the scientific idea of an "absolute zero" at which heat is completely absent, though his belief that it is "thousands of degrees below freezing point" is mistaken. The best understanding in 1904 was that the absolute minimum temperature of matter was several hundred degrees below the freezing point of water on the three scales that Bloom thinks of: "Fahrenheit, Celsius or Réaumur." In Celsius, a.k.a. Centigrade, it was (and still is) thought to be approximately -273 degrees. Temperatures nearly that low have been found in "interstellar space."

JH 2022

1998 Hubble Space Telescope image of the bowtie-shaped Boomerang Nebula in the constellation Centaurus, the coldest known place in the universe with a temperature of -272° Celsius. Source: Wikimedia Commons.