Floating Skier: A Levitating Superconductor


A “skier” on a superconducting disk skies along a track by levitating above a magnetic strip. This is the reverse of the usual demonstration in which a small rare Earth magnet is levitated above as superconducting disk.



Principles Illustrated

Properties of superconductors. This is the reverse of the more common experiment in which a small rare Earth magnet is levitated above a superconducting disk.


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NCEA & Science Curriculum

Properties of superconductors


Cool the skier in liquid nitrogen and place on the track


If you are not trained in the use of liquid nitrogen and confident with it, ask a university physics or chemistry department for help. Wear liquid nitrogen safety gear (particularly goggles) and use plastic forceps to lift skier in and out of the liquid nitrogen. Only a few ml of liquid nitrogen are needed to cool the skier.

Individual teachers are responsible for safety in their own classes. Even familiar demonstrations should be practised and safety-checked by individual teachers before they are used in a classroom.

Related Resources

  • Floating Magnet
  • How Cold is Liquid Nitrogen


The superconductor used in this demonstration was made in a research lab but similar materials are available fromĀ other suppliers.

Teaching Resources

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This teaching resource was developed with support from

The MacDiarmid Institute
Faculty of Science, Victoria University of Wellington
School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington


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