Superconductivity and Magnetism in New Materials and New Environments
Superconductivity and magnetism are both fascinating phenomena. For a long while, physicists assumed the two states were more or less exclusive of one another. In recent years, however, researchers have begun to learn how they can coexist, and the potential implications are great for exotic new physics, as well as nanoelectronics and quantum computing, among other advances. Vorontsov is investigating material in which superconductivity and magnetism appear together. He is attempting to develop a theory describing precisely how these states behave in close proximity. If successful, he hopes to be able to better explain and predict their interplay in certain metal compounds known to be superconducting at relatively warm temperatures. Perhaps one day his work will lead to a low-energy use, superfast, magnetically levitated train. The education part of his project takes the form of a new undergraduate course that will mix mathematics, physics and “magic” (exciting physics and math demonstrations). The interactive class will allow students to apply, “re-learn” at a new level, and bring together different branches of physics and mathematical skills as way to have fun with science. Vorontsov says that with some adjustments such course could be taught at the graduate level or used in a high-school outreach program.