Cao Yuan,

Beijing Review - - THIS WEEK PEOPLE & POINTS -

a 22-year-old doc­toral can­di­date in physics at the Mas­sachusetts In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy, made the list of science jour­nal Na­ture’s Top 10 peo­ple who mat­tered in science in 2018, on De­cem­ber 19, 2018.

Ac­cord­ing to two pa­pers he pub­lished in Cao found that when graphene—which or­di­nar­ily con­ducts elec­tric­ity—was ex­posed to a small elec­tric field and cooled to 1.7 de­grees above ab­so­lute zero, it be­came an in­su­la­tor. And with a slight tweak to the field, the twisted sheets be­came a su­per­con­duc­tor, where elec­tric­ity flowed with­out re­sis­tance. His dis­cov­er­ies spurred a new field of su­per­con­duc­tor physics.

Cao, from Chengdu in south­west China’s Sichuan Prov­ince, fin­ished his mid­dle and high school ed­u­ca­tion in two years. He re­ceived his bach­e­lor’s de­gree from the Uni­ver­sity of Science and Tech­nol­ogy of China in He­fei, east China’s An­hui Prov­ince, and went to the United States for a PHD at the age of 18.

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