Magnetic Mӧbius Track Superconducts Online Buzz

By Stephen Shoemaker, July 18, 2017

Magnetic Mӧbius Track Superconducts Online Buzz

A video showing off an Ithaca College physics professor’s sweet magnetic track in the shape of a Mӧbius strip has caused a stir on the Internet—as such awesome things do.

The track is used by Matthew Sullivan, a researcher in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, to demonstrate one of the most apparent properties of superconductivity: the ability of certain materials in a superconductive state (in this case a ceramic puck frozen in liquid nitrogen) to be “pinned” in place against a magnetic field—thus levitating the object above the magnets.

Although posted in June 2016 to the Ithaca College Physics YouTube channel, the video was noticed in recent weeks by several websites, including Gizmodo, The Awesomer, Geeks Are Sexy, Geekologie, Laughing Squid and LikeCool.

Before being noticed in mid-July, the video had only accumulated around 120,000 views, and is now approaching 300,000 views. Sullivan isn't sure why the video suddenly caught fire, but is excited to see the numbers climb nonetheless, and does his best to provide thoughtful responses to the comments left. One common query: Why is this useful?

"The purpose is, number one, to show people the amazing things modern science can do; number two, stimulate questions about math and science; number three, get people interested in math and science; and number four, inspire people to create and invent," Sullivan said.

"More views mean more opportunities to reach these goals," he added.