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Definition: A superconductor is an element or metallic alloy which, when cooled to near absolute zero, dramatically lose all electrical resistance. In principle, superconductors can allow electrical current to flow without any energy loss (although, in practice, an ideal superconductor is very hard to produce). This type of current is called a supercurrent.

In addition, superconductors exhibit the Meissner effect in which they cancel all magnetic flux inside, becoming perfectly diamagnetic (discovered in 1933). In this case, the magnetic field lines actually travel around the cooled superconductor. It is this property of superconductors which is frequently used in magnetic levitation experiments.

Superconductivity was first discovered in 1911, when mercury was cooled to 4 degrees Kelvin by Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, which earned him the 1913 Nobel Prize in physics. In the years since, this field has greatly expanded and many other forms of superconductors have been discovered. The basic theory of superconductivity, BCS Theory, earned the scientists - John Bardeen, Leon Cooper, and John Schrieffer - the 1972 Nobel Prize in physics. A portion of the 1973 Nobel Prize in physics went to Brian Josephson, also for work with superconductivity.

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