The Nobel Prize in Physics 1973
Born: 5 April 1929, Bergen, Norway
Affiliation at the time of the award: General Electric Company, Schenectady, NY, USA
Prize motivation: “for their experimental discoveries regarding tunneling phenomena in semiconductors and superconductors, respectively”
Prize share: 1/4
In quantum physics matter is described as both waves and particles. One result of this is the tunneling phenomenon, which means that particles can pass through barriers that they should not be able to squeeze through according to classic physics. In 1960 Ivar Giaever demonstrated a tunnel effect through a thin layer of oxide placed between metal in normal or superconducting conditions. Superconducting means that certain materials completely lack electrical resistance at low temperatures. Giaver’s discovery contributed to knowledge about the phenomenon in several ways.