By Helga Nowotny
The invention of high-temperature superconductivity used to be hailed as a tremendous medical leap forward, inducing an remarkable wave of pleasure and expectation one of the medical group and within the overseas press. This booklet units this study step forward in context, and reconstructs the background of the invention. The authors examine the emergence of this new examine box and how its improvement was once formed via scientists and technological know-how coverage makers. in addition they learn a number of the institutional and nationwide settings within which the learn was once undertaken in addition to contemplating the medical 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
Yet good interconnections between grains are not sufficient to ensure current-carrying capacity; experimental attention has recently focused on the new materials' hardness to magnetic fields, produced by the "pinning" of magnetic flux lines. These findings and the practical difficulties of material preparation partly explain the return to "normal science" and systematic research - the incremental accumulation of evidence or test results and their comparison with hypotheses and calculations, an iterative learning process allowing the gradual selection of scientific and technological routes to a fundamental understanding of the phenomenon.
New avenues were still being explored, such as substituting fluorine for oxygen, but with little success. As a substitute to improve the overall properties of a superconducting compound, thallium had yielded the maximum critical temperature of 125 K (Sheng & Hermann, 1988). This five-degree improvement over bismuth was too weak an incentive for researchers to work with the extremely poisonous substance. By the end of 1988, it was accepted that the desired results would be found among the copper oxides and that critical temperatures beyond 125 K were probably not just around the corner.
These characteristics threw some light on the theoretical and experimental problems. On the theoretical side, the techniques used to understand the local properties of condensed matter are not yet as well developed as those that can use averages of large numbers of atoms and electrons: concepts such as Fermi surfaces or electron distribution lose part of their significance for HTS. Some experimental data indicates that it is unlikely that critical temperatures can be raised much further if this depends on another reduction of coherence length.