A family-friendly demonstration of superconductors in action. Fran explores the low temperatures we need to make them work, and how we can use superconductors for levitating trains.
When something superconducts, it behaves as a magnetic mirror, so will be repelled from magnetic fields. We can use this property to float a superconductor above a bed of magnets. However, for this to work, the superconductor has to be very cold. Graduate student Fran Kirschner uses liquid nitrogen to cool some superconductors (among other things) and show what they can do. Along the way, she explains some of the history and uses of these amazing materials.