Quantum-Locked Superconducting Floating Discs Will Freak You Out

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Short version: prepare to have your mind blown by scientastic weirdness (also known as "quantum levitation"). Longer version: exploiting the Meissner effect, scientists from Tel Aviv University (and others) have created an interesting scenario with super-cooled superconducting discs, cooled to -185ºC and suspended above (or below) magnetic fields. Okay, that "longer explanation" still doesn't do it justice. Watch this floating insane-o-disc and prepare to start Googling to see whether it's a hoax:

More mind-blowing video (and some more science mumbo jumbo) after the jump.

A puck zooming around on a magnetic track, accelerated by Hot Wheels motors. At 1:08, a nice Star Wars reference:

And finally, a more complete discussion of the process involved (note that their claim of "frictionless movement" doesn't seem to account for the friction introduced by contact with air; it strikes me as "way less friction than something rolling along the ground," perhaps -- but I'm no Physics major):

And for even more (including commentary by people who actually understand the physics here -- plus some good jokes), check out this MetaFilter thread. Now I'm not saying we're getting jetpacks or levitating cars, but I am saying these videos make me want to grow up to be a scientician.

(Via Gizmodo.)

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October 18, 2011 - 7:15am
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