Gieljan de Vries

Gieljan de Vries

science writer

Background article

KIJK magazine nr. 4, 2021

Superconductivity: ice cold technique heating up

One hundred years ago, Kamerlingh Onnes in Leiden discovered superconductivity and in KIJK no. 4, 2021 I tell about that technique, which is still a bit of a breakthrough and a bit niche. In MRI scanners and particle accelerators you can't do without superconducting magnetic coils. Are there other competitive applications of current carriers without resistance?

Will the first superconducting wind turbine turn the tide? And what did discoverer Kamerlingh Onnes himself think he had found with his "mercury near zero"?

To find out, I interview science historian Dirk van Delft and physicists Carlo Beenakker, Alexander Brinkman and Marc Dhallé. They are, of course, extremely enthusiastic about the future of superconductivity. And not just for power cables without electrical resistance, but also for lighter ship engines and power generators.