Hot Time for a Cool Contest

Records fall in the fierce competition to create superconductors at higher and higher temperatures

Paul C.W. Chu is science's version of a champion pole vaulter. Every time he smashes a world record, he just puts the bar a bit higher and goes at it again. It's not just that he's never satisfied with himself; he also knows his many competitors won't let the record stand. What Chu, a University of Houston physicist, and his rivals keep pushing higher and higher is the temperature at % which it's possible to create superconductors --those almost magical materials that allow electricity to flow through them with no resistance whatsoever. When scientists get the temperature high enough, superconductors could,...

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