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Brilliant Image

Hallelujah Mountains

Image by James Cameron

The Hallelujah Mountains in James Cameron's Avatar may seem total fantasy, but a miniature version of the mountains can be induced in laboratories. Superconducting materials, when cooled to their transition temperatures, expel magnetic fields from the space they occupy, a phenomenon named the "Meissner Effect" after one of its discoverers. The physics are complex, but the gist is this: Magnets or perhaps... magnet-containing rocks can be made to float above superconductors.