An extreme close-up on heat transfer

How much heat can two bodies exchange without touching? For over a century, scientists have been able to answer this question for virtually any pair of objects in the macroscopic world, from the rate at which a campfire can warm you up, to how much heat the Earth absorbs from the sun. But predicting such radiative heat transfer between extremely close objects has proven elusive for the past 50 years. Now, MIT mathematicians have derived a formula for determining the maximum amount of heat exchanged between two objects separated by…

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