Cover image for The cold wars : a history of superconductivity
The cold wars : a history of superconductivity
Matricon, Jean.
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Uniform Title:
Guerre du froid. English
Publication Information:
New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers University Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xiii, 271 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
The logic of low temperature -- Perpetual motion? -- Metals and theories -- Experiments and their interpretations -- The true image of superconductivity -- Fritz -- Not your everyday liquid -- The Russian cold -- In Cambridge in spite of Stalin, in Moscow because of Stalin -- Superfluidity: theories and polemics -- The war, the bomb, and the cold -- Radar and superconductivity -- The ions also move -- East is east, and west is west -- Now, how to grab the tiger by the tail? -- John Bardeen's relentless pursuit -- The golden age -- After the golden age: tomorrow, always tomorrow -- The age of materials -- A Swiss revolution: the superconducting oxides -- Superconductivity as theater -- Almost twenty years later.
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QC611.95 .M3813 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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There is no temperature below absolute zero, and, in fact, zero itself is impossible to reach. The quest to reach it has lured scientists for several centuries revealing interesting and unexpected phenomena along the way. Atoms move more slowly at low temperatures, but matter at bareLy above absolute zero is not immobile or even necessarily frozen. Among the most peculiar of matter's strange behaviors is superconductivity#65533;simply described as electric current without resistance#65533;discovered in 1911.  With the 1986 discovery that, contrary to previous expectations, superconductivity was possible at temperatures well above absolute zero, research into practical applications has flourished. Superconductivity has turned out to be a fruitful arena for developments in condensed matter physics, which have proved applicable in particle physics and cosmology as well.

Cold Wars tells the history of superconductivity, providing perspective on the development of the field and its relationship with the rest of physics and the history of our time. The authors provide a rare look at the scientists and their research, mostly little known beyond a small coterie of specialists. Superconductivity provides an excellent example of the evolution of physics in the twentieth century: the science itself, its epistemological foundations, and its social context . Cold Wars will be of equal interest to students of physics and the history of science and technology, and general readers interested in story behind this remarkable phenomenon.


Reviews 1

Choice Review

First published in 1994 in French, this book tells the story of superconductivity, from the beginnings of low-temperature physics in the 19th century to the late 20th century. The account is chronological, paying appropriate attention to the mostly experimental work before WW II, the golden era after the formulation of the Bardeen Cooper Shrieffer (BCS) theory, and the modern period after the discovery of high-transition temperature (Tc) superconductors. The book contains a wealth of historical detail, valiant explanations of complex science, and a certain amount of editorializing. Scientists, historians of science, and students will all appreciate this work. The interested lay reader may have difficulties with the high level of scientific literacy required in places. Condensed matter physics is the largest branch of physics today and, of all the branches of physics, has had the greatest impact on our daily lives. Nevertheless, its history has not received the degree of scholarly and popular attention that other areas such as particle physics or astronomy have received. This book is an important step in recognizing the historic role of condensed-matter physics in the 20th century. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates through professionals. M. C. Ogilvie Washington University