Wim Peeters / Superlab


Superconductivity Laboratory Online

The SUPERCOMET project has its roots in a project called Superlab, which had as its main goal the illustration of superconductivity in an easy and understandable way. The project was initiated by Professor Kristian Fossheim at the Department of Physics at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim. Professor Fossheim specializes in research on superconducting materials, and has also participated for many years in the public debate regarding research politics in Norway.

The Challenge

A university’s foremost tasks are these: education, research and science communication. The last of these three tasks have a tendency to take a back seat compared to the former two. Professor Fossheim has always taken a keen interest in communicating scientific knowledge. In the last decade or so, new computer technology has made it possible to visualize concepts in physics and superconductivity and thus communicating them to a far broader audience. Professor Fossheim’s deeper motivation for the Superlab project was to reach out to young people, especially high school students, with the message that science and technology is exciting, fascinating, important and useful.

Short Description

The project started in the spring of 1998, when professor Fossheim hired Vegard Engstrøm, then a physics student, as his project assistant. That fall, a student project was started at the institute of computer science. Vegard Engstrøm functioned as the mediator between the "computer experts" and the "physics expert", literally translating the physics terms of the professor for the students, and vice versa with the computer lingo of the students back to professor Fossheim.

After the students finished their project in November 1998, more work was carried out on Superlab. Professor Fossheim presented the Superlab project at a conference on superconductivity in Houston, Texas in February 2000, and the response was very positive.

Simplicatus AS

Based on the positive feedback after this presentation, and the experiences from their collaboration, Engstrøm and Fossheim decided to found the company Simplicatus together in May 2000, in order to further develop and expand the concept through new projects.


While working on the Superlab project, Simplicatus investigated possiblities for further development. One such opportunity appeared in november 2000, when Vegard Engstrøm first learned about the Leonardo da Vinci programme phase II of the European Union. A pre-proposal for funding was submitted in January 2001, followed by a full proposal in May 2001. Both stages of the application process were successful, and the SUPERCOMET project thus became a reality in the late fall of 2001.


The current version of Superlab was developed by Simplicatus and finished in May 2001, financed by a grant in May 2000 from the Norwegian Educational Council.

Superlab project (Norwegian only)