Ok....I know I've been on a science kick lately, but this one was sent to me by a Facebook friend, and it grabbed my attention:
Here's the important parts of the article:
"Muller and Bednorz soon won a Nobel Prize, but subsequent decades and thousands of researchers have not yielded a theory of high-temperature superconductivity. 'High temperatures should destroy the quantum phenomenon,” said Bianconi, who decided to investigate another odd property of these materials: They’re not quite regular. Oxygen atoms roam inside, and assume random positions as they freeze.
"'Everyone was looking at these materials as ordered and homogeneous,' said Bianconi. That is not the case — but neither, he found, was the position of oxygen atoms truly random. Instead, they assumed complex geometries, possessing a fractal form: A small part of the pattern resembles a larger part, which in turn resembles a larger part, and so on.
"'Such fractals are ubiquitous elsewhere in nature,' wrote Leiden University theoretical physicist Jan Zaanen in an accompanying commentary, but “it comes as a complete surprise that crystal defects can accomplish this feat.'
"If what Zaanen described as 'surprisingly beautiful' patterns were all Bianconi found, the results would have been striking enough. But they appear to have a function.
"In Bianconi’s samples, larger fractals correlated with higher superconductivity temperatures. When the fractal disappeared at a distance of 180 micrometers, superconductivity appeared at 32 degrees Kelvin. When it vanished at 400 micrometers, conductivity went quantum at 42 degrees Kelvin.
"At -384 degrees Fahrenheit, that’s still plenty cold, but it’s heading towards the truly high-temperature superconductivity that Bianconi describes as 'the dream' of his field, making possible miniature supercomputers that run at everyday temperatures."
Ok... so they don't know what's going on here. Here's my guess (please note the bold face, underlining, and italicization!...I mean, we're talking real guess here). I suspect that this may be related to the whole phenomenon of non-equilibrium thermodynamics, of chaos, and of the ability of systems to self-organize. We are in short getting a glimpse into a fundamental aspect of broken symmetry, one as yet not really known or understood. Whether that guess proves to be true or not, time only will tell, but this is an interesting discovery, and I think in the long run, a very significant one. If this phenomenon can be properly understood and mastered, as the article avers, it holds tremendous significance for computational technology, and we may be looking at a phenomenon that could conceivably be tied to the invention of AI.