Superconductivity—then and now


  • Dr. Herbert Jaeger

    1. Max-Planck-Institut für Metalltorschung, Heisenbergstrasse 5, D-7000 Stuttgart (FRG)
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    • began his scientific career studying electrical engineering in Dieburg, FRG before moving on to both the University of Tübingen, FRG, and Oregon State University, USA to study physics. He gained an M.S. from Oregon State in 1983 and following research on zirconia ceramics usign a nuclear spectroscopy technique (known as perturbed angular correlation) received a Ph.D. in physics from Oregon State in 1987. Since then he has been engaged in research into ceramic superconductors at the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research in Stuttgart.


The discovery of high-Tc superconductors in 1986 resulted in a massive research effort which continues today. Superconducting materials have been known, however, since 1911. In this article, the historical background to superconductivity is traced, conventional and high-Tc materials are described and the theories which are applied to rationalize this phenomenon discussed, always with an eye on current and future applications, for example SQUIDs and levitating trains.