I'm looking for the title of a story in which a girl, an immigrant from Eastern Europe or the Middle East, figures out the formula for a room-temperature superconductor and keeps it secret-in-the-open because she is powerless. Her family manufactures a lot of it, all stamped with the family name and innocuous, integrated into power cables so that many people will see it and her fame can't be stolen.

IIRC, this story was published around 2010.

EDIT : This may have been included in Gardner Dozois' "Year's Best Science Fiction", which I will now review the list of titles. I'm not certain I'll recognize the title. The story may have been set in Turkey.

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    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 21:31

1 Answer 1


This sounds like "Zero for Conduct", a novelette by Greg Egan. It deals with an Afghani schoolgirl in Iran (rather than Turkey) who indeed works out the formula for a room temperature superconductor, but has no money to pay for the cost of patenting it. It was included in Gardner Dozois' Thirty-First Annual Collection in 2014, which is more or less compatible with the poster's recollection.

  • 1
    It's also found in a collection of stories by Greg Egan entitled Instantiation, published in 2020. It's currently in print.
    – user22484
    Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 8:26

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