After IBM scientist, K. Alex Müller submitted a scientific paper to the famous Zeitschrift fur Physik journal in early 1986 he sat down with his daughter for dinner and said, “this paper is going to make history.” And it sure did.
In record time, it took only one year for the Nobel committee to honor IBM scientists, J. Georg Bednorz and K. Alex Müller with the Nobel Prize for Physics. During the commemoration speech, Professor Gösta Ekspong of the Royal Academy of Sciences, explained, “less than two years old – it has already stimulated research and development throughout the world to an unprecedented extent.”
On 18 April 2011, we honor this achievement and celebrate the 25th Anniversary of when “Possible High Tc Superconductivity in the Ba – La – Cu – O System” was first published.
25 years in the making, we are now beginning to see applications for high temperature superconductivity in energy grids, the metals industry and transportation, though broader adoption is still years away.
- Energy efficient power cables using high temperature superconductor (HTS) wire from American Superconductor are beginning to rollout around the world. In 2008, the longest and first HTS cable was installed on Long Island, New York and is currently transmitting up to 574 MW of electricity – enough to power 300,000 homes. In the Southwestern United States, the Tres Amigas Project is currently underway to link America’s three power grids and create the nation’s first renewable energy market hub. And in South Korea, LS Cable, recently placed an order for three million meters of HTS wire, the world’s largest order to date.
- In the metal processing industry large machines called billet heaters use electricity to heat metals to 1,100 deg C (2,012 deg F) to soften them before processing. Using HTS, the German company Bültmann GmbH in co-operation with Zenergy Power, have developed a magnetic billet heater that is 80 percent efficient, saving the equivalent of 800 barrels of oil per year.
- Magnetic Levitating Trains (Maglev), currently being tested in Asia, use onboard magnets that levitate the train above the steel rails, making them more energy efficient and faster. Initial testing of Maglev trains in Japan have recorded speeds at 581 kilometers per hour (361 mph).
As part of the recognition, the discovery is being symbolized as an IBM Icon of Progress, one of IBM’s top 100 milestones. Check out to commemorative icon here.