Perspectives

Duality in Perspective

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Science  25 Oct 1996:
Vol. 274, Issue 5287, pp. 524-525
DOI: 10.1126/science.274.5287.524

Summary

Electric and magnetic fields are related by a property known as duality symmetry. Likewise, in superconductors, the electron pairs that give rise to electric current without resistance are related to objects known as vortices by a dual symmetry. In his Perspective, Girvin discusses results reported by Shahar et al. (p. 589) that show evidence for this dual symmetry in superconducting films. The experimental demonstration of this symmetry provides fundamental insights at the critical point where an insulator switches to a superconductor.