A Letter From the Publisher: Mar. 14, 1988

The Meissner effect, named after German Physicist Walther Meissner, is defined as the exclusion of a magnetic field. The Stephenson effect, named after TIME Picture Editor Michele Stephenson, is defined as the solution to the problem of producing a perfect photograph to illustrate an impossibly complex story. The picture behind Stephenson, in which a swinging ceramic ball is being repelled by a horseshoe magnet, is an ingenious portrayal of superconductivity, one of the most promising new scientific frontiers. The Meissner effect picture by TIME's Bill Pierce, which appeared in our Aug. 10, 1987, issue, won the prestigious Budapest Award, given for...

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