Historical Development of Superconductivity

Authored by: Brian Pippard

Handbook of Superconductivity

Print publication date:  July  2022
Online publication date:  July  2022

Print ISBN: 9781439817322
eBook ISBN: 9780429179181
Adobe ISBN:


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The story of superconductivity falls into rather well-marked periods. From the discovery in 1911 until 1933, exploration was largely confined to Leiden, Toronto and Berlin, almost the only laboratories with liquid helium. A great change came with the discovery of the Meissner effect in 1933, which stimulated widespread interest in superconductivity at the same time as the exodus of Jews from Germany was causing a diffusion of low-temperature physics. After 1945, the post-war reconstruction of European research also saw the emergence of the United States as a leading participant (greatly helped by the Collins liquefier and unprecedented government funding). With the revelation of the BCS theory in 1957 and the introduction of superconducting solenoids at about the same time, a new era opened; we shall take this to define the end of our historical period.

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