Superconductivity: theory and practical challenges of a quantum phenonemon

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Day / Time
Date(s) - 25/08/2015
19 h 00 min - 20 h 30 min


Conference by J. Georg Bednorz, Nobel prize in physics 1987, IBM Research Zurich
and Louis Taillefer, physicist and professor at the University of Sherbrooke, Canada

Uni Dufour, 24 rue Général Dufour, 1204 Genève

Discovered more than 100 years ago, superconductivity remains one of the most fascinating manifestations of the laws of physics, observable only at low temperatures. This phenomenon, which allows the transport of electricity without any loss of energy, leads to various technological applications, for example in magnetically levitated vehicles, in MRI and in the LHC, Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

Two renowned scientists have been invited by the Faculty of Science to give public lectures devoted to the mystery of superconductivity. J. George Bednorz, Nobel Prize in physics and research scientist at the IBM Zürich research center, will talk about the history of the subject, noting that for many years it was relegated to the realm of technological utopia, since no one imagined that superconductivity could occur at anywhere near room temperature. Dr Bednorz will describe how with the discovery of new classes of superconductors these limitations are gradually being overcome, in the process revolutionizing materials science and engineering.

For his part, Louis Taillefer, professor of physics at the University of Sherbrooke, and at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, will lead us to the heart of the quantum world, telling a fantastic story of electrons and scientists, featuring very low temperatures, huge magnetic fields and powerful microscopes. He will describe the faith which scientists place in promising new materials, in particular copper oxides that remain superconducting halfway to room temperature. However, Dr. Taillefer will remind us that scientists still do not know how to increase the quasi-magical force which induces the electrons to form pairs, the process which lies at the root of the phenomenon of superconductivity.

This conference is organized as part of the International Congress « Materials and Mechanisms of Superconductivity (M2S – 2015) » held every three years and organized this year in Geneva.

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