The Theosophical Forum – June 1939

SUPERCONDUCTIVITY — Raymond Rugland

A crackling spark leaps and twists between two copper terminals. A flash of dynamic power blazes a zigzag path, and an aggregate embodiment of countless millions of souls of the electronic world surges from one column to the other. The power of a Genie, the mystery of a flame, is electricity! Whirling magnets and rotors bring light, power, and heat into our homes; a tiny copper strand leads the way for the electrons to follow. In nature is revealed this vast collection of infinitesimal electrical entities throughout the width and breadth of our entire objective existence. Are not heat, motion, friction, and light witnesses to the constant presence of magnetism and electricity? Because our minds are bound by our physical restrictions and we cannot measure the infinite smallness of each electron, are we justified in assigning it to a place of insignificance? Consciousness is all-permeant and is limitless in its expression whether in the macrocosm or the microcosm. The Theosophist regards the atom as a tiny solar system, protons being the atomic sun, and electrons, the atomic planets. Not inert particles, but ensouled individualities rooted in an eternal Monad — these are the electrons which the Theosophist fits into the Universal Scheme. Does atomic or molecular consciousness merit the real consideration of the scientific researcher? One electrical phenomenon is of special interest in consideration of ensouled planet electrons.

Superconductivity, as an electrical phenomenon, has baffled the physicists for almost twenty years. In vain they seek a physical means of explanation but each time the true answer eludes their grasp. Superconductivity refers to the behavior of an electric current passing through a metallic conductor at low temperatures. Only in recent times have conditions been perfected so as to enable the physicist to work experimentally with temperatures as low as minus 270 degrees Centigrade. In chemical research, atoms warp and twist under the direction of researchers as they subject different substances to the uncanny effect of sub-zero temperatures. These infinitesimal particles are not found to be as inert and irresponsive as was presumed or entirely in harmony with the theories that had been framed beforehand.

Every pure metallic conductor offers a resistance to the movement of the current through it and for different temperatures, other things being equal, we find that as the temperature of the conductor is raised, the resistance becomes greater with a uniform constancy. The atoms of positive electricity — the protons — are relatively heavy, and are, as a rule, immobile; atoms of negative electricity — the electrons — are much lighter than the protons, and in every body some are free to move. A current in a wire is merely a stream of these electrons and the battery or dynamo "pushing" the current through the wire acts as an electron pump. As the temperature of the conductor rises, the atoms composing the conductor speed up in their natural motion as do the electrons flowing as an electrical stream, and the result is that there is a continual bombarding of atoms and electrons so that the motion of the electric current is impeded by constant jostling of atomic neighbors. According to this explanation, as the temperature of the conductor lowers, the atoms should gradually slow down and offer less resistance to the electric current. To within a certain limit this is true. It was found that at a temperature a few degrees above absolute zero (minus 273° Centigrade) the resistance of certain metals vanished completely and without warning. A current started in an endless conductor would continue to flow for hours without any resistance and with its intensity undiminished without the aid of any outside electromotive force or battery. It seemed that the electrons appear to know the location of the moving atoms and to avoid colliding with any of them, although such collisions would be frequent at a slightly higher temperature. Such a discovery violated the expected calculations of the scientists and once again left them with a phenomenon for which they had no explanation. Here is a case wherein atomic and molecular behavior seems to have acted from some impulse within the nature of these micro-cosmic entities rather than from some external material or physical factor. For science, remains the renewed search for the hidden potencies and powers of the micro-organisms. Theosophy mirrors the Plan of the Universe to reflect in the electron. Lo! — A planet of some microcosmic sun, an entity like our own Earth, linked in a vast Scheme of evolving Conscious Infinitude.


The Theosophical Forum

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