Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Meissner Effect In the Lab

Many of you may have seen pictures of the Meissner Effect at work. Pictures like the one below (from Wikipedia):
This is a picture of a magnet levitating over a superconductor which is sitting in a pool of liquid nitrogen. But few people, even physics majors, have even seen the Meissner Effect in person. One of the labs done by physics majors at UNC involves high temperature superconductors ("high temperature" is relative since this takes place at −196 °C or −321 °F), and as part of it they look at and see (for the first time for most students) the Meissner Effect in action. For the students the first time they actually see it they are all awed and amazed that they can see the magnet levitating, and then they can have the magnet spin in midair. It is a very impressive thing to see for the first time.

Today in lab (actually just a few minuets ago, since I am still sitting in lab while writing this) I took a video of the Meissner Effect at work. Sorry about the shaky camera, but it shows a levitating magnet spinning in midair.


  1. That's freakin' amazing! I love science! Now where's my hoverboard?

  2. It's called, "Build your own."

    Last week we were talking about having to replace the superconductors but we are having a hard time contacting the guy who makes them so we were talking about making our own. That should be fun.


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