My Photo


  • Jen-Luc Piquant sez: "They like us! They really like us!"

    "Explains physics to the layperson and specialist alike with abundant historical and cultural references."
    -- Exploratorium ("10 Cool Sites")

    "... polished and humorous..."
    -- Physics World

    "Takes 1 part pop culture, 1 part science, and mixes vigorously with a shakerful of passion."
    -- Typepad (Featured Blog)

    "In this elegantly written blog, stories about science and technology come to life as effortlessly as everyday chatter about politics, celebrities, and vacations."
    -- Fast Company ("The Top 10 Websites You've Never Heard Of")
Blog powered by Typepad
Bookmark and Share

« they do it with mirrors | Main | get your physics phreak on »


It should also be noted that there has been a lot of interesting work done on BCS physics in atomic systems-- if you get a system of fermionic atoms cold enough and dense enough, and they have the right sort of collisional interactions, they'll pair up in the same way that electrons in a superconductor do.

This is the "BEC-BCS crossover" regime (in one limit of the collisional interactions, the atom pairs form a Bose-Einstein Condensate of bound molecules, while in the other, they're more like Cooper pairs), and has been the subject of many a session at DAMOP in recent years.

Excellent post. Thanks.

Just a note, in Wisconsin, UWM generally refers to University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee ( campus. Madison is simply University of Wisconsin ( From someone who has degrees from both. What a role model in Bardeen. It would be interesting to know how many of his students and junior collaborators also won Nobel prizes - I am sure it is a very high number.

1. I've heard another writing of:
Felix Bloch, another thwarted theorist, jokingly concluded: Every theory of superconductivity can be disproved.

2.May be we now can mention another physisist Gilles Holst, who was the first to observe JUMP from/to zero resistance?

Onnes, Gerrit Flim, chief of the technical staff, and their co-workers Gilles Holst and Cornelius Dorsman performed the experiments. Onnes and Flim looked after the cryogenic apparatus in which the mercury was cooled, while Holst and Dorsman sat in a dark room 50 meters away, recording the resistance readings from the galvanometer.
Repeated trials all indicated zero resistance at the liquid-helium temperatures. The workers assumed that some kind of short circuit was responsible and replaced the U-tube with a W-shaped tube with electrodes at both ends and at the kinks, presenting four different segments for measurement.
Again, the resistance was zero, and no short circuits could be found in any of the segments.
They continued to repeat the experiment. A student from the instrument-makers school was charged with watching the readings of a pressure meter connected to the apparatus. The helium vapor pressure in the cryostat needed to be slightly lower than the atmospheric pressure so that air would rush into any tiny leaks, freeze, and seal them. During one
experimental run, the youngster nodded off. The pressure slowly rose, as did the temperature. As it passed near to 4.2 kelvins, Holst saw the galvanometer readings suddenly jump as resistance appeared.

According to de Nobel’s story, Holst had unwittingly witnessed, in reverse, the transition at which mercury went from its normal conductive behavior into the state that Onnes would call “superconductivity.” Repeated trials convinced Onnes that the sudden loss of mercury’s resistance at about 4.2 kelvins was real. He published the finding in November 1911 as “On the Sudden Change in the Rate at Which the Resistance of Mercury Disappears.” Subsequent tests of tin and lead showed that superconductivity was a property of numerous metals if they were cooled sufficiently.

By 1914 Onnes established a permanent current, or what he called a “persistent supercurrent,” in a superconducting coil of lead.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter

    Physics Cocktails

    • Heavy G
      The perfect pick-me-up when gravity gets you down.
      2 oz Tequila
      2 oz Triple sec
      2 oz Rose's sweetened lime juice
      7-Up or Sprite
      Mix tequila, triple sec and lime juice in a shaker and pour into a margarita glass. (Salted rim and ice are optional.) Top off with 7-Up/Sprite and let the weight of the world lift off your shoulders.
    • Listening to the Drums of Feynman
      The perfect nightcap after a long day struggling with QED equations.
      1 oz dark rum
      1/2 oz light rum
      1 oz Tia Maria
      2 oz light cream
      Crushed ice
      1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
      In a shaker half-filled with ice, combine the dark and light rum, Tia Maria, and cream. Shake well. Strain into an old fashioned glass almost filled with crushed ice. Dust with the nutmeg, and serve. Bongos optional.
    • Combustible Edison
      Electrify your friends with amazing pyrotechnics!
      2 oz brandy
      1 oz Campari
      1 oz fresh lemon juice
      Combine Campari and lemon juice in shaker filled with cracked ice. Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Heat brandy in chafing dish, then ignite and pour into glass. Cocktail Go BOOM! Plus, Fire = Pretty!
    • Hiroshima Bomber
      Dr. Strangelove's drink of choice.
      3/4 Triple sec
      1/4 oz Bailey's Irish Cream
      2-3 drops Grenadine
      Fill shot glass 3/4 with Triple Sec. Layer Bailey's on top. Drop Grenadine in center of shot; it should billow up like a mushroom cloud. Remember to "duck and cover."
    • Mad Scientist
      Any mad scientist will tell you that flames make drinking more fun. What good is science if no one gets hurt?
      1 oz Midori melon liqueur
      1-1/2 oz sour mix
      1 splash soda water
      151 proof rum
      Mix melon liqueur, sour mix and soda water with ice in shaker. Shake and strain into martini glass. Top with rum and ignite. Try to take over the world.
    • Laser Beam
      Warning: may result in amplified stimulated emission.
      1 oz Southern Comfort
      1/2 oz Amaretto
      1/2 oz sloe gin
      1/2 oz vodka
      1/2 oz Triple sec
      7 oz orange juice
      Combine all liquor in a full glass of ice. Shake well. Garnish with orange and cherry. Serve to attractive target of choice.
    • Quantum Theory
      Guaranteed to collapse your wave function:
      3/4 oz Rum
      1/2 oz Strega
      1/4 oz Grand Marnier
      2 oz Pineapple juice
      Fill with Sweet and sour
      Pour rum, strega and Grand Marnier into a collins glass. Add pineapple and fill with sweet and sour. Sip until all the day's super-positioned states disappear.
    • The Black Hole
      So called because after one of these, you have already passed the event horizon of inebriation.
      1 oz. Kahlua
      1 oz. vodka
      .5 oz. Cointreau or Triple Sec
      .5 oz. dark rum
      .5 oz. Amaretto
      Pour into an old-fashioned glass over (scant) ice. Stir gently. Watch time slow.