Professor Alex K. Müller, arriving in Estonia on an invitation from the
Rector of UT, will stay here until June 9. Prof. Müller works at the
IBM Research Laboratory in Zurich, Switzerland. Together with Dr.
Johannes Georg Berdnoz, he was awarded the Royal Swedish Academy of
Sciences 1987 Nobel Prize in Physics for groundbreaking work in
discovering the superconductivity of ceramic materials.
Professor Müller received the world's most famed science prize for his
1986 discovery of high-temperature superconductors. New superconductors
have been among the biggest sensations in science during the last
decades and have opened up new avenues of research, among others
actively and successfully explored by UT physicists.
Supercoductivity is among the phenomena that has baffled physicists the
most and was first observed in 1911. Supercoductivity occurs when
superconductor material is cooled to extremely low, so-called
'critical' temperatures. At such threshold temperatures it suddenly
becomes possible to pass electricity through the superconductor without
The key to Bednorz and Müller's success was giving up the "traditional"
materials -- alloys of various compositions. To obtain a chemically
stable compound, the researchers added barium to crystals of lanthanum
copper oxide, resulting in a ceramic material which became the world's
first successful 'high-temperature superconductor'.
Bednorz and Müller are uncontested discoverers of the special case of
superconductivity in ceramic materials. Their work has inspired other
scientists to create compounds that attain superconductivity at
temperatures up to four times higher (calculated against the base
temperature of absolute zero, i.e. -273°C) than have been known
previously. Electrical and microelectronics engineers are thrilled by
the developments in superconductor research for its promise of opening
new and unexpected avenues for applications in the field of measurement
The lecture by Nobel laureate Professor Alex K. Müller can be followed over the Internet at the site http://video.ut.ee
Additional information regarding the Nobel Prize awarded to Prof. Alex
K. Müller is available at the Nobel Prize home page at
Head, UT Public Relations and Information Office
Additional information: Dr. Kaido Reivelt, UT Institute of Physics, tel. +372-742-8175;
Dr. Jaak Kikas, UT Institute of Materials Science, tel. +372-737-5541