By Helga Nowotny
The invention of high-temperature superconductivity was once hailed as an incredible clinical step forward, inducing an exceptional wave of pleasure and expectation one of the clinical group and within the overseas press. This booklet units this examine step forward in context, and reconstructs the historical past of the invention. The authors learn the emergence of this new examine box and how its improvement used to be formed by means of scientists and technological know-how coverage makers. additionally they research a few of the institutional and nationwide settings within which the examine used to be 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
This was the breakthrough they had sought! (Bednorz & Muller, 1987; Muller & Bednorz, 1987) They decided to publish their findings even before performing the crucial magnetic measurements that could conclusively confirm the presence of superconductivity by demonstrating the Meissner-Ochsenfeld effect, the expulsion of an applied magnetic field. Bednorz approached his manager, a member of the editorial board of the journal Zeitschrift fur Physik, and the paper was submitted for publication in April 1986.
Politically as well as scientifically, the ground had been prepared for the establishment of national research programs, though much organizational eifort would still be needed to launch them. 5 The return to normality In early 1988, discoveries of superconducting materials with ever higher critical temperatures began tapering off. 5 The return to normality 39 returning caution. Ovchinnikov's report in Physical Review Letters claiming to have reached 240 K could not be confirmed, but had a kind of dumping effect on the research community.
LTS had originally flourished in the period of unbounded technological optimism of the 1960s. One reason for this optimism had been the plethora of funding in what was indeed a golden age for research. Any proposal with futuristic appeal stood a good chance of being funded; a realistic assessment of its potential was considered an asset, but by no means a necessity. Unlimited energy was expected from nuclear fusion and superconducting electrical networks. Space program administrators believed sufficient money and staff could put into orbit whatever the scientific imagination could dream up.
After the Breakthrough: The Emergence of High-Temperature Superconductivity as a Research Field by Helga Nowotny