Modern scientific research has taken some odd turns, but none so unusual--and exciting--as the current race to find high-temperature superconductors. Here, after a quaint description of ""protons"" and ""electrons"" in atomic structure, Lampton chronicles that race, from the discovery of superconductivity in 1911 to the work of Paul Chu and his contemporaries, who have demonstrated the property in ceramics, salts, and even plastics, at temperatures that may seem frigid by human standards but that can be reached without great expense. Though the author doesn't make much of it, signs of superconductivity have also been found at the other end of the scale, above the boiling point of water. After describing how superconductivity is thought to work (the ""BCS Theory""), Lampton catalogs some of the products that cheap superconductivity could make possible, as Well as the obstacles that still need to be overcome. As usual, the author is specific without being tedious and doesn't overdramatize his subject. Unexceptional b&w photos. Index, glossary, superficial--and largely out-of-date--bibliography.