Superconductivity—A Challenge to Modern Physics

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The discovery of superconductivity could not have happened without the liquefaction of helium by the Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes in 1908, which allowed physicists to reach temperatures close to absolute zero. Helium liquefaction was the result of Kamerlingh Onnes’s lifelong enterprise to apply large-scale industrial means to fundamental research. It delivered the final blow to nineteenth-century conceptions about the existence of non-liquefiable “permanent” gases. Until 1923, his Leiden cryogenic lab would remain the only place in the world where helium could be liquefied (see, e.g., van Delft 2007).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBoston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science
Number of pages10
Publication date2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014
SeriesBoston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science

    Research areas

  • Final Blow, Heat Theorem, Macroscopic Quantum State, Metallic Conduction, Persistent Current

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