Superconductors are materials that can transmit electrical charge without any resistance—unlike a copper wire, for example, which heats up from passing electric current, weakening the transmitted signal. Superconductors have found an important use generating the intense magnetic fields required by MRI machines and high-energy particle physics experiments, but they must be kept at temperatures far colder than those we naturally experience on Earth.
Now feels like a turning point: lanthanum hydride is the closest a room-temperature superconductor has felt to reality. But visiting with Geballe at the Geophysical Laboratory, it was hard to imagine the slivers of the material—smaller than the width of a human hair—fashioned into a wire or used in any technology at all. Nor is that the point. Materials scientists are working at the boundary of the present and the future, performing grueling, hands-on research hoping to develop substances that might not even have any applications.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.