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 how cells adapt to changes in levels of oxygen to our ability to fight global poverty.
See them all presented here.