SITE VISIT: Good Conduct

Science  10 Mar 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5459, pp. 1707c
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5459.1707c

Since the discovery 14 years ago that some materials lose all resistance to electricity at temperatures well above absolute zero, superconductor research has attracted thousands of physicists and sparked hot commercial interest. Superconductors.org is aimed at beginners, but its hyperlink-sprinkled pages also serve as an excellent roundup of the field's major Web attractions.

Start by versing yourself in the history of superconductivity, discovered in 1911 in mercury cooled by helium to 4 kelvin. Then run down the major types of superconducting materials, including the record holder, a five-element ceramic concoction that superconducts at a warmish 133 K. Or catch up on applications: Superconducting materials may speed data links on the Internet, for example, while Japan's experimental maglev train last year reached a mind-boggling 552 kilometers per hour.

Want to dig deeper? Click a button to pull up all 56-and-counting U.S. patents on superconductors. Other links lead to superconductor newsletters, major labs, companies, and an abstracts database in Japan. You can even find out about kits for making superconductors in the classroom—or the basement, perhaps. Superconductor.org's creator, electrical engineer Joe Eck, says he studies them “as a hobby” at home.

superconductors.org

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