K. Alexander Müller
The Nobel Prize in Physics 1987
Born: 20 April 1927, Basel, Switzerland
Affiliation at the time of the award: IBM Zurich Research Laboratory, Rüschlikon, Switzerland
Prize motivation: "for their important break-through in the discovery of superconductivity in ceramic materials."
Prize share: 1/2
When certain metals are cooled to extremely low temperatures, they become superconductors, conducting electrical current entirely without resistance. However, very low temperatures, just a few degrees above absolute zero, are required for this phenomenon to occur. In 1986 Alex Müller and Georg Bednorz discovered that a material composed of copper oxide with lantanum and barium additives became superconducting at a significantly higher temperature than previously tested materials. This sparked extensive research into similar materials.
Their work and discoveries range from the Earth’s climate and our sense of touch to efforts to safeguard freedom of expression.
See them all presented here.