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Science Technology

Grand Unifying Theory of High-Temp Superconducting Materials Proposed 48

An anonymous reader writes "Years of experiments on various types of high-temperature (high-Tc) superconductors — materials that offer hope for energy-saving applications such as zero-loss electrical power lines — have turned up an amazing array of complex behaviors among the electrons that in some instances pair up to carry current with no resistance, and in others stop the flow of current in its tracks. The variety of these exotic electronic phenomena is a key reason it has been so hard to identify unifying concepts to explain why high-Tc superconductivity occurs in these promising materials. Now Séamus Davis, a physicist who's conducted experiments on many of these materials at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory and Cornell University, and Dung-Hai Lee, a theorist at DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley, postulate a set of key principles for understanding the superconductivity and the variety of 'intertwined' electronic phenomena that applies to all the families of high-Tc superconductors [full academic paper]."
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Grand Unifying Theory of High-Temp Superconducting Materials Proposed

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  • by Badge 17 ( 613974 ) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @11:52PM (#45161223)

    Disclaimer: I am not qualified to evaluate the science presented here. However, I always wince when I see something with such big claims as a PNAS contributed paper. PNAS allows National Academy members to "contribute" a paper, i.e. they act as the editor, selecting referees for the paper. This allows well-established scientists to get controversial ideas published without a big fuss - but it also means that sometimes goofy and incorrect stuff can slip through.

    Of course, if the theory works out, it will be a huge, huge result. Just add a slightly larger grain of salt than you usually do, because the paper came out of a different peer review process.

  • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Friday October 18, 2013 @01:33AM (#45161729) Journal
    Why would anyone do this?

    AFAIK, that's the way the majority of Journals operate, most don't care that the author will hand out electronic copies to anyone who asks, many will post it on their university's web site. It's an anachronism these days, it was originally aimed at stopping other journals from just copying and printing the good stuff after other had gone to the trouble of reviewing it. Academic publishing is a two way street the academics and journals need each other because "publish or perish" applies to both sides. Because of this symbiotic relationship journals are not widely regarded as "greedy capitalists", sure subscriptions are expensive compared to (say) people magazine, but if you pay peanuts for a job then only monkeys are going to apply.

    Having said that. The GP has every right to be cautiously optimistic and somewhat cynical. It's an extraordinary claim, but regardless of it's pedigree, a solitary paper with the ink still drying is not extraordinary evidence.

It's great to be smart 'cause then you know stuff.