The Shmooze

Israeli Scientists Learn to Levitate

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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You know that scene in “Back to the Future 2” when Michael J. Fox’s character Marty McFly skates on a hover board? It’s no longer just movie magic.

Tel Aviv University scientists demonstrated quantum levitation at the Association of Science-Technology Centers annual conference held last week at the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore. The researchers from the Superconductivity Group at TAU’s Schools of Physics and Astronomy wowed conference attendees with their demonstration of superconductors locked in a magnetic field.

They showed how a disc frozen with liquid nitrogen can be made to hover over a magnet in any position. Similarly, it can “fly” over a track at any height or at any angle. It even appeared to defy gravity as it circled underneath the track.

The annual ASTC conference, whose theme was “Knowledge That Works: From Theory To Practice” featured more than 100 sessions on how science centers and museums can put new ideas into practice to benefit their communities.

This video demonstration of quantum levitation has had close to 3 million views in just four days. It has clearly gone viral, and it would not be surprising if some entrepreneurs have already reached out to the TAU team. Perhaps it won’t be too long before Marty McFly’s hover board is no longer just a figment of Hollywood’s imagination, but rather something kids everywhere will have. Let’s just hope their first rides go smoother than his did.

Watch a Demonstration of Quantum Levitation


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