Meissner effect, diamagnetism, and classical physics -- a review

Authors: Essén, H., Fiolhais, C. N.
Document Type: Article
Pubstate: Published
Journal: American Journal of Physics
Volume: 80   164-169
Year: 2012


We review the literature on what classical physics says about the Meissner effect and the London equations. We discuss the relevance of the Bohr-van Leeuwen theorem for the perfect diamagnetism of superconductors and conclude that the theorem is based on invalid assumptions. We also point out results in the literature that show how magnetic flux expulsion from a sample cooled to superconductivity can be understood as an approach to the magnetostatic energy minimum. These results have been published several times but many textbooks on magnetism still claim that there is no classical diamagnetism, and virtually all books on superconductivity repeat Meissner’s 1933 statement that flux expulsion has no classical explanation.