By Helga Nowotny
The invention of high-temperature superconductivity was once hailed as an immense clinical leap forward, inducing an unheard of wave of pleasure and expectation one of the clinical neighborhood and within the foreign press. This booklet units this learn step forward in context, and reconstructs the heritage of the invention. The authors learn the emergence of this new learn box and how its improvement used to be formed by means of scientists and technology coverage makers. additionally they study some of the institutional and nationwide settings within which the study was once undertaken in addition to contemplating the clinical backgrounds and motivations of researchers who entered the sector following the unique discovery.
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Additional resources for After the Breakthrough: The Emergence of High-Temperature Superconductivity as a Research Field
The BCS theory, which had seemed to account for all phenomena linked to superconductivity, was no longer adequate. Either a new theory was needed, or the existing one had to be modified to cover HTS. Participants discussed the potential applications of the new materials and arrived at a consensus that the scientific importance of HTS would be matched in technological impact only if the materials could be made to carry strong enough electric currents and if usable forms of the superconductors were not too difficult to manufacture.
20 The context of the discovery had abandoned. LTS researchers, with their accumulated tacit theoretical and experimental knowledge, were essential to the new field. For researchers who had taken part in the 25 years of LTS research, HTS offered the attraction of familiarity, though the differences were very great. Several LTS researchers held prominent positions and spoke with the authority of experience both for the importance of the new discovery and against being swept away by enthusiasm. Bardeen (the two-time Nobel prizewinner nicknamed the "gentle giant") and his colleagues Cooper and Schrieffer were welcome keynote speakers at the major conferences.
On the experimental side, some radical differences have been found between the behavior of conventional and high-temperature superconductors. First, critical temperature is no longer believed to depend on the average behavior of many crystal lattice cells, but is apparently determined by what happens in good superconducting cells. For a conventional metal alloy superconductor, variations in the critical temperature may be the result of impurities or deformations. In HTS, even a dirty compound shows the critical temperature of its good molecules, if there are enough of them.