U.S. scientists have succeeded in squeezing hydrogen so intensely that it has turned into a metal, creating an entirely new material that might be used as a highly efficient electricity conductor at room temperatures. The discovery, published in the journal Science on Thursday, provides the first confirmation of a theory proposed in 1935 by physicists Hillard Bell Huntington and Eugene Wigner that hydrogen, normally a gas, could occur in a metallic state if exposed to extreme pressure. Several teams have been racing to develop metallic hydrogen, which is highly prized because of its potential as a superconductor, a material that is extremely efficient at conducting electricity. Currently, superconductors such as those used in a magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, machines must be cooled with liquid helium to keep them at extremely low temperatures, which is costly. “This is the holy grail of high-pressure physics,” Harvard physicist Isaac Silvera, one of the study's authors, said in...

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