The view that a superconductor is a giant atom is in fact not new; in many old papers one can find statements to that effect, for example:
London and London, Physica 2,341 (1935): "Wenn wir uns den Supraleiter als ein grosses diamagnetisches Atom vorstellen ..."
London , Phys.Rev. 51, 678 (1937): " ...the electromagnetic behavior of the superconductor as being the same as that of a single big diamagnetic atom"
Ginsburg, 'Fortschritte der Physik 1, 101 (1953): " Ein riesiges Atom von makroskopischen Abmessungen und mit einer entsprechend hohen Elektronenzahl wurde sich in einem Magnetfeld wie ein Supraleiter verhalten. "
Smith and Wilhelm, Rev.Mod.Phys. 4, 237 (1935): " equivalent to considering the body as a single large diamagnetic atom "
Slater, Phys.Rev. 52, 214 (1937): " being similar to large atoms, they have a large diamagnetism "
as well as in some of the older books:
Rickayzen, Theory of Superconductivity, (1965), p.217 "Thus an atom behaves as a superconductor in a small, uniform magnetic field...a superconductor behaves like a large (macroscopic) atom".
However: we now have understood that the analogy is in fact much closer than originally thought: not only is the diamagnetic behavior of superconductors similar that of atoms, but also the charge distribution of superconductors is qualitatively similar to that of atoms: more positive charge near the center, more negative charge near the surface.
Indeed, superconductors expel negative charge (electrons) from their interior!
This is because holes are not like electrons , and ultimately because the proton is 2000 times heavier than the electron. Just like there are no electron-hole symmetric atoms, there are no electron-hole symmetric superconductors.
And the process by which the normal metal becomes a giant atom provides a dynamical explanation of the Meissner effect.
For more information see papers on
the theory of hole superconductivity.