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Superconductivity Surge Mobilizes Lab Chiefs

NEW YORK—A surge of new research in superconductivity that began late last year is posing as much of a challenge to research managers and administrators as to solid-state physicists. Their problem: How best to allocate scarce people, funds and equipment to take advantage of the new fervor in this sector of science, in which the maximum temperature at which resistance-free transmission of electric current occurs has soared. Although physicists warn that several technical hurdles remain, com

Peter Gwynne
NEW YORK—A surge of new research in superconductivity that began late last year is posing as much of a challenge to research managers and administrators as to solid-state physicists. Their problem: How best to allocate scarce people, funds and equipment to take advantage of the new fervor in this sector of science, in which the maximum temperature at which resistance-free transmission of electric current occurs has soared.

Although physicists warn that several technical hurdles remain, companies are preparing to take advantage of these breakthroughs in the basic science. Paul Chu of the University of Houston said that more than 15 companies, large and small, had contacted him about investing in his work after he reported that his team, in collaboration with a group from the University of Alabama, had achieved superconductivity at 98 degrees K.

Companies with expertise in superconductivity are rapidly producing their own applications of the new findings....

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