Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.
Brian David Josephson
The Nobel Prize in Physics 1973
Born: 4 January 1940, Cardiff, United Kingdom
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Prize motivation: "for his theoretical predictions of the properties of a supercurrent through a tunnel barrier, in particular those phenomena which are generally known as the Josephson effects."
Prize share: 1/2
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 1962 Brian Josephson predicted unexpected results with superconductors, material that at low temperatures lacks electrical resistance. Without superimposed voltage, a current can result between two superconductors that are separated by a thin insulator. If a rectified voltage is added, on the other hand, an alternating current can result.