The Levitation Test

How cool does that sound?  Well, sadly, it isn’t.  In our last lab session today, our only task – other than The Dreaded Locker Inspection, of course, but I’ll have to post about that one separately now because I’m tired – was to make a magnet hover over a disk we had made ourselves on Monday.  Another cool-sounding experiment, making our very own superconductors, wouldn’t you say?  Again, not so much.  The superconducting disks we made were matte black and smaller than a 1p coin.  And in today’s test, we were supposed to place it on top of a 10p coin (as if to rub it in, I know, but if you think about it, there was a point to it), pour liquid nitrogen over it and then drop a magnet onto it to see if it “levitated”.

Yet more depressing things about this experiment: the magnet was tiny, and most closely resembled a rodent dropping; the first time round, It Didn’t Effing Work; the second time, it worked, but I didn’t think it had.  It had to be pointed out with tiny tweezers that what I had been overlooking was, in fact, the correct outcome of the experiment.  In other words, a miniscule mouse dropping limply twitching atop a charred (and now grotesque and unrecognisable) coin-alike.  And to think I came in specially. Three hours of travelling for that.  Through the half-term Screaming Kidathon.  Such fun.

One positive to note, though: the liquid nitrogen did not disappoint.  I was mesmerised by the droplets that seemed to move of their own accord when I – ahem – accidentally spilt them on the bench.  The demonstrator confirmed that one day, liquid nitrogen will lose its appeal and become Just Another Chemical – but, probably, not any time soon.  Which was comforting to hear.

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About JC

I'm a no-longer-nameless trans asexual autistic, chemistry undergraduate at a London university, pronoun enthusiast, amateur photographer and budding proofreader. Son of Optimus. Join me and be amazed. Or just join me. The sense of awe and wonder is optional.
This entry was posted in Boredom, Chemistry, Musings, University and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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