23rd February 2013
In the quest to find new materials with exotic properties such as superconductivity, physicists are always on the lookout for new ways electrons can push each other around. For example, last week scientists announced they’d created a new kind of solar cell by discovering new electronic properties using a large-scale computer simulation. To discover properties that occur under more extreme conditions, theoretical physicists like Coleman write the equations that are sent over to experimental physicists who run tests using devices like the Large Hadron Collider to see if they hold up. “Along the way, we sometimes stumble across something amazing like high temperature superconductivity, which works well for levitating trains,” Coleman said.