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Cold (and Hot) Wars: a History of Superconductivity from Weissberg Cibulski to the Nobel 2003
Universities Pierre et Marie Curie - Paris 6 and Denis Diderot - Paris 7, Solid State Physics Group, Tour 23, 2 Place Jussieu, Paris F-75251, France
Far from being a continuous flow from its discovery down to its explanation, the actual history of superconductivity has been affected by numerous turbulences all along the XXth century. This talk will explore the most significant events from the 30's to the 2003 Nobel prize for physics: low-temperature in Kharkov with Shubnikov and Weissberg Cibulski (childhood friend of Arthur Koestler's wife); rebirth of cryophysics in UK mostly by German Jewish physicists, forced to exile by Hitlerism; superfluidity discovered in Moscow, thanks to Stalin, and in Cambridge in spite of him. This chaotic history culminated in two theoretical parallel developments isolated one from each other during the cold: Ginzburg-Landau on one hand, BCS on the other. As a result, superconductivity is not only a fascinating development in physics but also a study case of relationships between physics and society.
Presentation: invited oral at NATO Advanced Research Workshop, by Georges Waysand
See On-line Journal of NATO Advanced Research Workshop
Submitted: 2004-08-11 10:30 Revised: 2009-06-08 12:55