In 1986, physicist Paul Chu of the University of Houston discovered a compound that became an effective superconductor at significantly higher temperatures than before. He later achieved major breakthroughs by raising this critical temperature even more. Superconductors conduct electricity without resistance and expel magnetic fields. Although such materials long have been in use, Chu’s newest compounds work at temperatures that can be attained with ordinary refrigeration equipment or in the cold of outer space. These compounds may increase many commercial applications. Chu’s work led to the founding at University of Houston of the Texas Center for Superconductivity, a multimillion-dollar research facility funded by federal, state and private endowments.