Nautilus

Superconductivity for Siberia

It was mid-May of last year when we realized we were onto something.

We were measuring the electrical properties of a pellet squeezed between two diamonds in an anvil. The anvil could apply 2 million atmospheres of pressure, or about half the pressure found at the center of the Earth. Theoreticians had calculated that at extreme pressures like these, and temperatures between 123 degrees Celsius and negative 73 degrees Celsius, metallic hydrogen would lose all of its resistance to electricity. It would become a perfect conductor, letting current flow through it essentially forever.

This could be a big deal. True room-temperature superconductivity could allow lossless electrical transmission, fast trains, levitation, new

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