Scientific Discovery at Party Time

By: Daniel Nardini

Every now and then scientists need to take a break from their research. A research group in Japan did exactly that. They had a wine and beer party. It was a good way to unwind. Then they decided to get silly. They decided to experiment with beer, wine and sake (a Japanese alcoholic drink) on certain metal compounds to see what kind of super-conductivity occurs. From this simple experiment they made an astounding discovery. They learned that certain metal compounds, when being soaked in red wine for a day, become efficient super-conductive materials.

From this experimentation they discovered that certain metal compounds soaked in beer and sake became three times more super-conductive than had been the case with alcohol or water. With white wine the metals became five times more super-conductive, and with red wine the metal compounds became seven times more super-conductive. Because of this they went with red wine. It is interesting to note that super-conductivity was discovered 100 years ago in 1911. Super-conductivity is the transfer of energy from one place to the next with zero-loss heat. The more efficient the material used, the greater the super-conductivity there is. The importance of super-conductivity is that we live with it all the time. It is the means we have electricity. Cables made of certain metal materials twisted into wires conduct electricity from one place to the next for many miles.

What does this new discovery mean for us? It means that with more efficient methods of super-conductivity, we can transfer power from one place on the globe to another with greater zero-loss of heat and at a lower cost. We can even use this to transfer the power of the sun from areas where the Earth receives far more sunlight to where it receives it the least. This can change many things from how we receive electricity now to how we power our transportation systems, our industries, how we send people into space, etc. At this point the Japanese scientific team does not know exactly why red wine can make certain compound metals more super-conductive, and their potential. In the years and decades to follow we may find out. And all this from a wine and beer party. Amazing how some discoveries are made. Cheers!

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