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Published on Dec 23, 2011
The North Museum of Natural History & Science in Lancaster, PA previews its newest attraction: a quantum levitator. It's a circular track of magnets above which a razor-thin disc magically levitates, seeming to defy the laws of physics.
Purchased for about $7,000 from Tel-Aviv University, the levitator is believed to be the only one of its kind in a United States museum.
The key to the levitator is the disc, which is made of superconducting material sandwiched between layers of gold and sapphire crystal. A piece of foam is placed on top and held in place with household plastic wrap. The disc is then dipped into a brew of liquid nitrogen (temperature: minus-300 degrees Fahrenheit).