After the Breakthrough: The Emergence of High-Temperature by Helga Nowotny

By Helga Nowotny

The invention of high-temperature superconductivity was once hailed as a massive clinical leap forward, inducing an extraordinary wave of pleasure and expectation one of the clinical neighborhood and within the foreign press. This e-book units this examine leap forward in context, and reconstructs the historical past of the invention. The authors learn the emergence of this new learn box and how its improvement was once formed by means of scientists and technology coverage makers. additionally they study many of the institutional and nationwide settings within which the examine used to be undertaken in addition to contemplating the clinical 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

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This was confirmed in 1986 by a flush of retrospective articles on the occasion of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the discovery of the phenomena. 4 The euphoric phase 33 Josephson junctions. The field seemed to have left an "adolescence" of exaggerated and unconfirmed claims behind it, and to be resistant to further surprises. This is why Miiller and Bednorz were initially very cautious in interpreting their results. This caution - and the coincidence that their new compound became superconducting at 30 K, a spectacular temperature, but one not yet ruled out by the BCS theory - may have contributed to the credibility they enjoyed after a brief initial period of skepticism.

Several prototypes had been designed and constructed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), General Electric, and Westinghouse in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s. But no full-scale generators were built, again due to existing surplus capacity and the expected fall in the demand for energy. In Germany, Siemens is still planning a commercial 850 MW system, and a consortium of Japanesefirmsis currently developing a 200 MW generator for the late 1990s (OTA, 1990: 33). Another hurdle to the utilization of LTS is the low temperature it requires.

HTS would then continue up the ladder of thresholds. 26 The context of the discovery Even if DeBresson's prediction model presents an overly idealized and linear sequence ignoring likely unpredictabilities and surprises, it is a useful reminder of how many different kinds of hurdles or performance thresholds have to be overcome in a new technology's maturation process. But changes in the required performance criteria usually also involve a change in the composition of the teams working to attain them.

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