New superconductor claims could lead to progress even if they’re wrong

E8X75D Image concept of magnetic levitating above a high-temperature superconductor, cooled with liquid nitrogen.

Kiyoshi Takahase Segundo/Alamy

IN A video seen by millions on social media, a thin, grey puck floats on one edge atop a magnet. It never fully levitates and so isn’t quite the smoking gun it should be. Its creators say the puck is a revolutionary new material, one that could transform science and technology. Others are sceptical that it really is what they say it is. Either way, the puck has generated an intense wave of interest and that, in of itself, could be valuable.

Superconductors, materials that perfectly conduct electricity without losing any energy to resistance, were first discovered more than a …

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