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Powering the Future

New Zealand is poised at the forefront of the huge new industry based on high-temperature superconductors. The problem with superconductivity – the ability to conduct electricity with no resistance – has been that most materials only display this behaviour at hundreds of degrees below freezing. So far the best known applications of superconductors have been MRI scans and test high-speed magnetic-levitation trains. The third Ten by Ten talk will outline how New Zealand scientists have been pivotal in the slow task of making superconductors more practical: finding materials that superconduct at significantly higher temperatures, making superconducting wires less brittle, and helping us understand the complex and still-mysterious physics involved.

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