Skip to main content


What’s so super about superconductivity?

17 Feb 2016

The fascinating phenomenon of superconductivity was discovered in Leiden in 1911 by the Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes. In this video from our 100 Second Science series, Catherine Pépin of CEA Saclay, France, describes how Onnes was surprised to see the electrical resistance of mercury drop to zero when the metal was chilled to a temperature of about 4 K. Pépin describes some of the unexpected consequences of this discovery and how it triggered a hunt for room-temperature superconductors that could lead to transformational applications.

If you enjoyed this video explainer, then check out more from our 100 Second Science series.

Copyright © 2024 by IOP Publishing Ltd and individual contributors