restricted access Changes of State
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6 C h a n g e s o f S t a t e You took me to your lab to show me a tank of liquid nitrogen. A little drunk, standing a little too close, you turned a valve and nitrogen rushed like water into a bucket. Some immediately changed into vapor that rose up, rolled over my feet half bare in sandals. Liquid pearls skittered across the floor, then were gone, becoming atmosphere. You put your hand on mine to feel the chill rising from the waves, but I knew you’d take it away again. You could have come back to my place that night, or I could have stayed when I dropped you off. You dropped a piece of bread into the nitrogen that had not yet changed, and it seemed to boil, but the bread was hard as toast, cold to the touch. You tried to show me how it could shatter, but only a small piece broke off— the rest would thaw and be bread again. ...


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