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December 22nd Fact-of-the-Day

Superconductors conduct electric current without energy loss, because they have no electrical resistance. They are referred to as being diamagnetic, because they are able to levitate permanent magnets. They would have an extraordinary range of practical applications except for a major problem. The bizarre superconducting characteristics generally occur only at very low temperatures. In 1911 Heike Kamerlingh Onnes discovered that mercury exhibits superconductivity at 4 degrees Kelvin. Since then scientists have been searching for substances that exhibit superconductivity at higher temperatures. In 1995 Chakoumakos, Dai, Wong, Sun, Lu, and Xin discovered that Mercury Barium Thallium Copper Oxide is superconductive at 139 degrees Kelvin. ©2004 Martek, International. All rights reserved.

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