Read e-book online After the Breakthrough: The Emergence of High-Temperature PDF

By Helga Nowotny

ISBN-10: 0511608128

ISBN-13: 9780511608124

ISBN-10: 0521524792

ISBN-13: 9780521524797

ISBN-10: 0521561248

ISBN-13: 9780521561242

The invention of high-temperature superconductivity used to be hailed as a massive clinical leap forward, inducing an extraordinary wave of pleasure and expectation one of the clinical neighborhood and within the overseas press. This e-book units this examine leap forward in context, and reconstructs the heritage of the invention. The authors research the emergence of this new study box and how its improvement was once formed by way of scientists and technological know-how coverage makers. in addition they study many of the institutional and nationwide settings during which the learn was once undertaken in addition to contemplating the clinical backgrounds and motivations of researchers who entered the sphere following the unique discovery.

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Additional info for After the Breakthrough: The Emergence of High-Temperature Superconductivity as a Research Field

Sample text

But, not submitting his paper to Physical Review Letters until February 6, Chu was confronted with a major problem inherent in the conventional scientific publishing system: the possibility of information leaks or publication delays. He chose unconventional tricks to protect his work and ensure its priority. First, the paper contained two systematic mistakes that rendered it useless to any reader. He waited until February 18, the last possible moment before publication, to send his corrections to the journal (Wu et al, 1987).

In 1973, superconductivity was found in oxides at 13 K, demonstrating that the field still held surprises. But for the time being, researchers were unable to raise the critical temperature in superconducting oxides, and research turned elsewhere. Thus, until the Zurich discovery, 23 K was the highest critical temperature of any known superconductor. There was a seemingly satisfactory theory explaining the phenomenon, but experimentation was yielding few advances. As a field of basic research, superconductivity seemed closed and interest had slowly waned.

Numerous conferences were held around the world. To protect claims to priority over rival research teams and even close colleagues, some researchers developed a mania for secrecy. This was not only a matter of scientific recognition, but also of securing patents for future applications. Competition developed not only between research groups, but also between nations, especially the United States and Japan. Everyone wanted to get in on the ground floor of any emerging applications. A kind of gold fever had broken out in the research community; after years of disillusionment, unfounded reports, and stagnation, suddenly it was again possible to "do physics" and to dream of superconductivity at room temperature.

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After the Breakthrough: The Emergence of High-Temperature Superconductivity as a Research Field by Helga Nowotny

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